Police say the thefts happened in broad daylight, three times in the past week and twice last month at the Kroger gas station on West Broadway in Pearland.
"In all five cases, the victims have been women that have been alone at the pump."
Lt. Onesimo Lopez is with the Pearland Police Department.
"The suspects are stealing purses and wallets off of the front seat of the victim's vehicle. They're waiting for women that are pumping gas to not be paying attention. They'll go over, crouch down, open up the door, reach in and grab the purse off the front seat, and then immediately take off."
He says the thieves are looking for vehicles with the gas tank on the driver's side and which leaves the passenger side exposed.
"When they get out, a lot of times the vehicle unlocks, and the suspects are able to drive right up to the passenger side. And they know if a woman is not carrying her purse. Then more often than not, the purse is going to be sitting on the front seat."
The crime is committed within a few seconds. In one case, the thief slipped into the woman's car just a few feet from where her baby was asleep in a car seat. Lt. Lopez says the crooks pay attention to make sure the driver is
distracted and unaware of what's happening on the other side of her vehicle.
"In two cases, we did get some video of the suspects actually opening up the car doors and removing purses, and we have a couple of vehicle descriptions that we're working with."
Lopez says women should be always aware of their surroundings, take their purse with them, or lock the door when pumping gas.