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The Montgomery County Police Department is reminding drivers to be vigilant when filling up at the gas pump, after a series of thefts at gas stations in the Silver Spring and Takoma Park areas

Much of the activity has been happening at the 7-Eleven on Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring. Since June 23 there have been five thefts at that location, including purses, cell phones and even a vehicle.

Police say the vast majority of the victims have been female; many were distracted and talking on their cell phones at the time, and all of their vehicles were left unlocked.

“That’s what our suspects seem to be looking for: a quick and easy way to reach in, take something off the front seat and head on out before anyone realizes that they were there,” said Officer Nicole Gamard with the Montgomery County Police Department.

Cory Herrod lives nearby.

“There’s a lot of people hanging around here and it’s close to the D.C. line, so it’s easy for people to snatch, grab and go to another jurisdiction,” Herrod said, while filling up his vehicle.

There have been a total of 14 thefts since June at gas stations on Georgia Avenue, Westlake Drive, Colesville Road, Wisconsin Avenue and Connecticut Avenue. Police say since they’re happening so close to each other and during the morning and early afternoon hours, they may be related.

“Lock your car up, take your cell phone with you, make sure that your purse is with you,” urges Officer Gamard.

Police say they are in the process of going through surveillance video to see if they can put out a description of the suspect and his or her getaway vehicle.

Anyone with information about these thefts is asked to call Montgomery County Police Department’s auto theft section at 240-773-6370.

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