Slide into 2017 without losing your car to thieves

Atlanta has a problem with "sliders" and I'm not talking about small, delicious sandwiches.

Sliders are thieves who slide up alongside a car getting fuel at a convenience store gas station and steal whatever they can. Sometimes the crooks take off with a purse or an iPad.

Sometimes they drive off with the whole car.

I've never been a victim, but I've seen it happen. I was sitting at a red light in unincorporated DeKalb County when I saw an agile youngster jump into the driver's seat of a car that wasn't his.

The woman pumping gas immediately freaked out, but that didn't help. He took off and the fuel hose went flying.

The car thief raced past me on Kensington Road. As he sped off I saw him clip a couple cars. Further down the road, near Memorial Drive, he crashed. He ran towards an apartment complex in the shadow of the county jail.

I don't know much about stealing cars, but I figure those who are successful don't flee in the general direction of jails and courtrooms.

Anyone can be a victim, it seems.

The Mercedes-Benz of celebrity Queen Latifah was taken Dec. 20 when she visited a business on Fulton Industrial Boulevard.

On Dec. 23, retired Fulton Superior Court Judge Marvin Arrington Sr. lost his car while getting fuel on Cascade Road.

The thefts are the work of about two dozen juveniles who are quickly granted bond or released to their parents when arrested, says Fulton County Police Chief Gary Stiles. Police estimate 22 repeat juvenile offenders are to blame for 70 percent of the gas station crimes committed in Fulton County in 2016.

It's a good thing we have politicians that can fix this.

Fulton County Commissioner John Eaves has proposed finding funding for a " Red Hat Squad " totally unlike the Red Hat Society . The hat squad is a patrol unit that uses police officers from all cities in Fulton County to monitor high-risk areas. The Red Hat Society, this reporter has learned, is a group of women that enjoy a proper afternoon tea.

Fulton County Commissioner Marvin Arrington Jr., whose father was victimized, is pushing a resolution that punishes the businesses where the crimes occur. Stores would lose their alcohol licenses if they fail to stop crime at their locations.

Stiles, Fulton County's police chief, doesn't think much of that idea.

"Just because a crime is occurring doesn’t mean a business owner is complicit in the crime," he said in a recent AJC article .

The county commission was set to vote Tuesday on how best to proceed.

Fortunately, it's easier to prevent this kind of crime than it is to keep bad kids locked up.

Whenever you get out of your car just roll up the windows, lock the doors and take the key with you.

Seems simple, doesn't it? I don't have real statistics, but I figure the chance of your stuff sliding away with someone else just dropped 99 percent.

I do have statistics on which Fulton County stores are hit most. According to police, these locations have experienced the most crime since October.

  • 5705 Fulton Industrial Boulevard (QT) - 7 stolen cars - 11 thefts from cars
  • 3515 Cascade Road (BP) - 4 stolen cars - 13 thefts from cars
  • 3580 Cascade Road (Shell) - 5 stolen cars - 9 thefts from cars
  • 5225 Campbellton Road (Citgo) - 1 stolen car - 10 thefts from cars
  • 3165 Roosevelt Highway (BP) - 5 stolen cars - 2 thefts from cars

Other stations that had reported car thefts include:

  • 4981 Roosevelt Highway (BP) - 2
  • 5630 Old National Highway (Shell) - 2
  • 3805 Flat Shoals Road (BP) - 2
  • 3535 Roosevelt Highway (Shell) - 2
  • 4060 MLK Jr. Drive (Citgo) - 1
  • 4590 Fulton Industrial Boulevard - (Shell) - 1
  • 6129 Old National Highway (Chevron) - 1

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