From time to time we've called attention to safety issues at gas stations and convenience stores... In December we reported an apparent increase in armed robberies during last year's Christmas holiday season convenience store hold-ups.

...And now NBC's TODAY Show says more gas station customers are becoming victims of 'Sliders' --those are thieves who drive into C-stores and gas stations pulling up next to the passenger side of your vehicle, and while you're distracted pumping gas on the driver's side, they slide below the window where you cannot see them, open your front door on the passenger side and remove women's handbags / purses/ and wallets. They're gone in a flash before many even know they've been robbed.

According to the TODAY Show's Jeff Rossen,these kinds of thefts are occurring nationwide and with particular frequency especially Houston, Miami and Washington, DC.

If you don't think this can happen to you, think again. Where do most women keep their handbag? On the front seat. And do most people lock their vehicle when they get out of it to pump gas? Definitely not.

Rossen's report provides video clips that demonstrate an actual theft occurring in 19 seconds. Such criminal acts can even occur when there are kids in the back seat. It happens so quickly and quietly that in some instances even the kids never notice if a door opens or closes and that's all it takes to remove a handbag or purse and flee in another vehicle.

In some instances, thieves will simply reach into an open window, and in others, they capitalize on the driver being distracted, either talking to someone; pumping the gas, or processing the transaction at the pump. That's when they seize the moment to open the passenger door and grab their target --your bag & wallet.

Check out the video: NBC's TODAY Show report.