Authorities Warn Female Drivers of Gas Station Thefts

After 25 thefts have been reported since late last year, officials are warning women of brazen crimes at gas stations near interstate highways. Thefts have been reported from Oak Lawn to a number of towns in northwest Indiana, and authorities believe it could be one man behind it all.

Police in Munster, Indiana, believe the man seen victimizing a woman on security footage in Oak Lawn is the same person committing similar crimes in their community.

"He usually hits single females that are gassing vehicles," said Munster Police Lt. Ed Strbjak. "As the person, the young lady, pulls up, then he pulls around to the passenger side reaches through the window, opens the door, and gets in."

The man then typically takes the woman's wallet or purse, and leaves without her knowing. Authorities have released a photo of a tan Nissan Maxima with an unusual sunroof that they believe he is now using to hit gas stations along, or very close to the 80/94 corridor.

"The most recent was this last Saturday at approximately 11:30 pm at the corner of Calumet and Ridge at the BP station there," Strbjak said. "The lady went to fill up her tank. He reached in the window, got the purse, and headed back towards the expressway."

Police urge drivers to be acutely aware of their surroundings, locking cars, holding onto purses, even if you're only going to be at the pump for a short amount of time.

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