Screen grab via Google Maps
A woman was carjacked in broad daylight on Monday outside the Imo's Pizza downtown.
Surveillance video from Imo's, which was obtained by KMOV, shows the woman leaving the store and approaching the driver's side of her car when a man comes up behind her. The woman told police that he pushed her and demanded her car keys. He then took off with her car, which police say was a 2011 Kia Rio.
The incident took place around 4:10 p.m., according to a police summary. The woman was not injured.
Imo's manager Matt Paton, who had just helped the woman in the store, told KMOV
he thought she was going to have a heart attack as he tried to calm her down.
"She was so scared. She couldn’t breathe," Paton told the TV station. "The only thing she could tell me was ‘car’ and pointing down the road."
Thankfully, the woman was unharmed.
The Imo's is located at 904 South 4th Street, just one block from Broadway Oyster Bar and BB's Blues, Jazz and Soups.
Citywide crime statistics show that car thefts were down 11.3 percent in 2017. The 2,713 reported last year was the lowest number since 1951, according to an analysis released by the department late last week.
However, carjackings, as KMOV
notes in its story, spiked to nearly 350 in St. Louis city in 2017. Particularly notable cases in the recent past include the carjacking of a vehicle in Tower Grove South
with a baby inside, and a carjacking that led to a bi-state police chase
and ultimately a crash in Midtown.
St. Louis Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed called the incidents "a point of major concern" in an interview with KMOV, saying that he thinks a regional effort is necessary.
“We’ve been in conversations with the new U.S. Attorney who’s committed to applying additional resources to the city of St. Louis to address issues of violent crime across the board and I think that will be helpful,” Reed told the station. He also told KMOV
that the city's new police and new public safety director are are passionate about targeting violent crime and getting those committing such crimes off the streets.
When it comes to the area around the 4th Street Imo's, Paton told KMOV
that he'd like to see an increased in patrolling. Even officers on bikes, he says, could help since the location is so close to Busch Stadium and the center of downtown.
“I think it’s crazy, as a Cardinals’ fan I’m always at the games, we’re that close to Busch Stadium, people get the sense of security that nothing could happen to them here," Paton said, "and this old woman gets her car taken from her, keys wrestled out of her hands, just goes to show it can happen anywhere."
Worth noting, according to the police summary of the incident: That "old woman" is 37.