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Thieves using new trick to lure victims at gas stations

by: Liz Artz, WSBTV.com Updated:

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SOUTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - Criminals are using decoys to rip off unsuspecting people at gas stations.

“It’s a new twist to an old crime,” Fairburn, Georgia, police Sgt. Mario Jones said.

The crime was caught on tape when three people threw a handbag out the window of a silver Lexus at a South Fulton County gas station and waited for their victim to take notice.

“When he picked it up to take it inside the store here, that's when the crooks moved in,” Jones said.

Surveillance video captured the 54-year-old man as he stepped away from his car to take the purse inside. Within seconds, a man can be seen jumping from the back of the Lexus and into the victim’s car, stealing a wallet and iPhone.

Courtesy WSBTV.com
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Harold Byrd told WSBTV.com that he rents his basement apartment to the victim in the video.

“He thought he was being a good Samaritan by taking this handbag to a store clerk, thinking someone had dropped it at the gas station off Senoia Road. But the store’s surveillance video shows something different,” Byrd said.

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The Lexus also was stolen, and police believe the handbag tossed from the window was taken the same way just an hour before, Jones said.

“They got his pocketbook, all his information, my address on it. I worry about that. I’m 82 years old,” Byrd said.

Jones said this could become a new trend.

Byrd told us he won’t rest easy until the suspects are caught.

Anyone who may know the suspects are urged to call police.