NORTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KPLR) – A St. Louis County grandmother faced down a carjacker, Sunday.
Now she's got her car back.
The suspect’s in jail.
The victim shared her story with FOX 2, Monday.
It happened about 5:30 Sunday night at the Mobil station at Page and Hanley in Vinita Terrace. The victim said she was a frequent customer. Her mentally challenged daughter was inside buying something to drink. She was in her car at a gas pump, having just finished pumping gas. The suspect walked up to her car door.
“I looked at the man and he said, ‘get out of the car’,” the victim said. “I thought, ‘is there an emergency?’ ‘Is the place being robbed?’”
She thought the man was warning her about something about trouble inside the gas station. She feared for her daughter.
Then, the suspect demanded her keys and said he had a gun, she said.
“I said, ‘really, go away and leave me alone.’ I was going to try to shut the door. That’s when I realized I couldn’t get the door shoot. So I started kicking and screaming and beeping the horn,” the victim said.
“You just want to say ‘you messed with the wrong grandma’,” said Lt. Steve Runge of the North County Police Cooperative. “She was tough cookie. She was a real tough cookie and very determined to hang on to her car...you could see in the video a little bit, them actually fighting--this 64 year old woman taking on a 25-year-old carjacker.”
“That’s when he yanked on my clothes and ripped them and pulled me out and threw me to the ground and drove off,” the victim said.
She staggered into the gas station and called police. The OnStar system in her silver Saturn tracked the car to North St. Louis, police said.
The suspect, Andrew Sanders, 26, of Ferguson, was still inside. He confessed to the crime, police said.
Investigators found no gun.
The victim admitted she probably should have just handed over her keys, but she was fighting for more than her car.
“I was afraid that my daughter would come back in the process of this and I felt like if I could get him to run away and change his mind by fighting him off, then maybe she would not come out and be involved in this and see it because I did not want to traumatize her,” she said, as her lip began to quiver.
This gas station hardly seemed a threatening place. That was part of the lesson, police said. The suspect appeared to just be talking on a phone. Surveillance video showed him lingering around the gas pumps for several minutes. It was obvious he did not have a car.
“He said he went to the gas station for this specific reason: to get a set of wheels. He has a cell phone in his hand that’s not even working. His cell phone is turned off for not paying the bill. But he walked around as if he was on his cell phone,” Runge said.
When the parking lot cleared of customers, he made his move.
The victim suffered scrapes and bruises to her hip, arm, and head.
Sanders is charged with first degree robbery, his bond has been set at $100,000.