The Purse, A Girl’s Best Friend

by Sherry Riter in Safety

warning to women pumping gas

I had someone pull a gun and point it at me while I was driving down the road. It is a memory I won’t ever forget. I’ll tell you about that in a minute.

The other night on the news I saw that women were being targeted at the gas pump. Not every woman, just women who drive vehicles that are taller than they are…basically SUV’s.

The way that it works is:

  • an unsuspecting woman SUV driver pulls up to the pump.
  • she unlocks her doors, gets out and begins pumping her gas.
  • the criminal drives up in the pump next to her,
  • gets out of his car,
  • stoops low,
  • opens the victim’s front passenger side door,
  • takes the purse that is sitting boldly in the front seat,
  • gets back into his car and drives off.
  • The victim finishes pumping her gas,
  • and upon re-entering her SUV, discovers that her purse has been stolen.

According to the Seattle Police Department, the first and most important defense strategy to avoid becoming a victim or having your purse stolen is to “Safely Carry Valuables.” The top tips in this category are:

  • Handbags should be closed, carried in front of the body with an arm held loosely across it. A bag dangling by your side is much easier for a thief to grab on the run.
  • If wearing a handbag with a strap over the head, choose a thin strap, and wear it under your coat. This makes it harder for the robber to grab the strap. A hard yank on a strap may cause a fall and an injury.
  • Many women find they don’t need to carry a handbag all the time. Place essentials (keys, small amount of cash, I.D.) in a pocket.
  • Avoid carrying house keys in your handbag. Instead, carry keys in a pocket. Chances are your address is on a document in the bag. If the thief has your keys and address he/she has easy entry to your home.
  • Consider reducing the items of personal or sentimental value that you routinely carry. Losing family photos, address books, and important papers is usually more traumatic to victims than financial loss.
  • If you must carry a large amount of cash or valuable items, do not carry them in your handbag or wallet. Carry valuables in an inside pocket.

This is the road where someone pulled a gun on me and the gas station where I called the police on the payphone twenty years ago.


I was minding my own business driving in the right lane. I noticed that the car on my left kept getting closer as I approached the intersection, so I glanced over. I was unprepared to see a man pointing a revolver at me through his passenger side window. I immediately slammed on the brakes and pulled into the gas station. I was shaking so badly that I couldn’t hardly dial the phone.

I don’t know who he or if he was caught, but I do remember the terror I felt. Don’t take your safety for granted, because other people do and your life holds no value to them.

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This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jamie November 29, 2009 at 7:32 am

That is so scary! I can't even imagine how you felt, I would be terrified, too!

And to be honest, I have never even thought about my purse not being safe in the passenger seat as I pump my gas. Thank you for posting this. It's definitely a reminder to be a little more careful.


2 Judy Harper November 29, 2009 at 9:26 pm

Wow! I bet you were afraid! Thanks for the post as a tip! I don't have an SUV, but I am guilty of leaving my purse in the car while I pump gas!


3 Teresha@Marlie and Me November 29, 2009 at 9:39 pm

You have nerves of steel! I would have probably crashed the car. Thank goodness you found a safe place.


4 Tracy November 30, 2009 at 12:37 am


I always lock my door at gas stations and now I'm glad that I do.


5 KK December 2, 2009 at 3:24 am

That is so scary, I'm glad you were ok!


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