It's a new kind of pain at the pump as more and more motorists have fallen victim to gas station thieves known as "sliders."
The situation occurs when the thieves "slide in" quietly and swipe the belongings of oblivious drivers who are out of their vehicle and pumping gas.
The crime is becoming rampant, particularly in Southern California.
“Really, this is something that can happen to anybody and that's our biggest concern,” Commander Robert Brill of the Simi Valley Police Department recently told reporters. "We wanted to raise public awareness; our thought was to make sure the community knew this was happening."
Inside Edition contacted security expert Steve Kardian to demonstrate just how easy it is to snatch a purse from an unlocked car without anyone noticing.
"They only need four, five seconds to get in that car and slide away with your belongings," he said. "Most people don't even know until it's too late, you're a soft target, you have to get your credit card out, enter your pin number, you're preoccupied, that's what the predator is looking for."
In 2016, a Florida woman saw something strange going on and went after the thief in a way that few would ever dare. Janelle Irene Della-Libera hopes her harrowing experience will serve as a lesson for others to be alert at all times.
"What if you find yourself in a situation where you see the thug stealing your bag — what do you do?" Kardian told Inside Edition. "Never bargain your property for your life. Let them take it, get a good description, try to see what he's driving. Never jump on the car, never go after the thief."
Kardian believes the best protection against thieves at a gas station is rather simple.
"Back to basics," he said. "Lock the car, take the keys with you. Make sure you don't leave your belongings in plain sight and be aware of your surroundings."