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Carjackers Unable To Swipe Stick Shift

Reported By: Kevin Rowson
Web Editor: Michael King
Last Modified: 6/20/2007 9:01:56 AM

Remember the movie "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight?" Now, meet "The Carjacking Crew That Couldn't Drive." A couple of teens jumped a person leaving work at an east Cobb pizzeria. They tried to steal his car, but couldn't.

Bellacino's Pizzeria closes at 9 p.m. That's when one of the employees left work out a back door, where his car was parked. He was approached by two teens armed with a gun, who demanded his wallet and his car keys.

The employee wisely gave both up.

The suspect jumped into the victim's car, but he couldn't get it started, because it didn't have an automatic transmission. It was a standard shift with a clutch pedal.

The victim ran back into the pizzeria and called police. After a few minutes, other employees opened the back door expecting the criminals to be gone.

"And I look out, and the guy's still in his car, trying to start the car, but all he has is the radio on, 'cause you have to keep the clutch down to start the engine," said pizzeria employee J.J. Williamson.

Frustration turned to resignation, and the suspects left the scene in a more conventional way -- they ran. But not fast enough before Cobb police arrested Joshua Johnson, 18, and a juvenile.

"It's a bit comical, but you're right, it's definitely something serious," said Cobb Police Officer Wayne Delk. "Armed robbery, always something serious. There's always a potential for someone to get injured."

Lessons are learned in a relatively crime-free area, said pizzeria owner Terry Neil.

"We'll have the kids park around front at night, even if it means having somebody escort them out here to pull their cars around," said Neil.

And for carjackers?

"I guess if your gonna steal a car, you should probably know how to drive it first," he said.

Johnson and the juvenile are charged with carjacking and armed robbery.
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