CRIME

D.C., Maryland see rise in gas station robberies

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A dangerous trend is being reported in the District and Prince George's County--gas station robberies.

Hundreds of gas station customers are falling victim to thieves snatching purses and even cars from gas station lots.

The latest target was the Sunoco Station on New Hampshire Avenue in Takoma Park.

Surveillance video from the station shows how one thief worked.

While the motorist was inside paying for gas, the thief exited his car, looked inside the motorist's vehicle and saw a purse. The thief tried to open the door. Discovering that it was locked, he smashed the window, grabbed the purse and fled.

Police say people have committed these crimes in less than 10 seconds. In some cases, victims don't even realize their property has been stolen until they get home.

Late last week, a thief found an unlocked vehicle running at a gas station, jumped in and took off.

The Sunoco Station has a record of more than 40 robberies in the past two years.

Police believe it's an organized gang of bandits who have committed hundreds of these gas station thefts.

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