HAZELWOOD, Mo. — Police said a woman was dragged about 50 feet while trying to stop a suspect from stealing her car at a Quick Trip in Hazelwood.
The woman stopped at the gas station, located at 5909 Howdershell Road, around 11 p.m. Thursday to grab some snacks. When she came back outside, she noticed the tire on her passenger side was low on air.
Police said she drove to the air compressor and inflated her tire. Moments later, the suspect approached her vehicle and got into the driver’s seat.
“She tried jumping in the passenger side to keep him from taking the car,” said Police Sgt. Brendan Gilbert. “He backed up with her halfway in and out of the car and dragged her backward.”
“He realized there was a large dog in the back seat of the car,” Gilbert continued. “I don’t know if that deterred him. He got out of the car and back into the original car he arrived in.”
Gilbert said the suspect got into a red sedan and left the area.
Investigators confirmed that the suspect let the air out of the passenger side tire when the victim went into the store, hoping the woman would notice and leave the vehicle running at the air pump.
“The majority of our winter vehicle thefts are crimes of opportunity,” said Gilbert. “There are times when people are forced from their cars — but a lot of these suspects drive around the parking lot or sit and watch and wait for someone to leave the car unattended, and then they take advantage. This is one of the cases I’ve seen where the subjects deflated the tire to actually get this person to go over and reinflate it.”
Police said the woman was treated at the scene for minor injuries.
Meanwhile, the Hazelwood Police Department is urging motorists to take
extra precautions at the pump.
“Always pay attention to what’s going on around you,” Gilbert said. “Shut your car off. I understand you want to keep it warm but turning your car off is better than it being taken. Lock your car, turn it off, and take the extra time to take those steps and avoid a scenario like this.”