HAZELWOOD, Mo. – A Hazelwood woman and her daughter got quite the scare last weekend as they were carjacked waiting for their mini-van to warm up.
According to Hazelwood police, the carjacking occurred just before 8 a.m. on Saturday.
The suspect, identified as 23-year-old Melvin Lanns, had the van for four days but didn’t go far.
Police said Lanns saw his chance in the StoneHaven apartment complex on Boulder Creek Drive near Lindbergh. The victims were outside with their blue mini-van warming up.
“(The mother) had dropped something on the ground, went to pick up. The suspect was walking through the apartment complex, saw the opportunity, brandished his pistol and took her car,” said Hazelwood Police Sergeant, Norman Mars.
Four days later, an officer noticed a blue mini-van in the parking lot of the Days Inn on Hanley Road, just two miles from the crime scene. It turned out to be the one that was stolen.
Lanns rented a room at the hotel and put license plates from his own mother’s vehicle on the stolen mini-van, police said.
Police warn drivers to look around and make sure no one’s lurking when starting your cars and maybe let the car warm up as you drive. Braving the cold beats the possible alternatives.
“I’m going to get into my car, sit there and shiver, then roll off to work,” Sgt. Mars said. “This was a violent crime. The woman had a gun pointed at her…she’s doing well considering but yeah, she went through something that was pretty traumatic for her.”
The victim now has her van back. Lanns has since been charged with robbery and armed criminal action. His bond was set at $150,000, cash only.