Over a recent ten day period nine customers had their wallets, handbags, and other possessions stolen from their cars at the pump of a Clayton County gas station. At one point there were eight robberies in eight straight days.
FOREST PARK, Ga. -- The last two weeks have not been good for the BP gas station in the 5100 block of State Highway 85 in Clayton County.
According to store personnel, nine customers had their wallets, handbags and other possessions stolen from their cars over a 10-day period. At one point, there were eight robberies in eight straight days, all at pump six.
"[The thief] was passing the car, and he saw the window and the bag lying around, and he just jumped on the opportunity. And he got away with it," said store manager Talha Bin Mumtaz. "I guess he had another urge the next day to do it again, and he's been doing it since then. And every day there's a victim of that."
"Someone just ripped everything from me," customer Nidra Dillon said. "My ID is gone, my Social Security cards, my children's Social Security cards. It's just a big mess."
Dillon said she had no clue she was being robbed, even though she and her children were at the car the whole time.
"I paid at the pump. I never left my vehicle," she said. "This guy was just that quick that he just reached his hand in there and nobody ever even saw it. He was just that clever. My children were in the car. There's no telling what could have happened."
The store's surveillance cameras were rolling, but the manager said the computer took a hit during a recent thunderstorm and the video has been hard to retrieve.
Still, Mumtaz said he thought he recognized the suspect as a local man who dresses in drag.
That corroborates what Dillon's husband said he saw when he returned to the store to look for her wallet.
"He said he wasn't sure if it was a male or female," Dillon said. "Now we know it was a male posing as a female who walked up to the car and crawled over to this lady's vehicle and was sticking his hand into the vehicle. And [my husband] said that he started flashing his lights at him, and he took off running."
Clayton County police said they have stepped up patrols and assigned a detective to the case but note that the majority of the victims did not file a police report. The manager believes that's probably because the store is right off the interstate and many of the victims were out-of-town travelers who simply wrote off the loss.
If you were robbed at the station or saw the thief, call Clayton County police at 770-477-3648.