NEW YORK – Police said a shoplifting suspect tried to steal a car, causing the vehicle to slam into a New York City restaurant.
Police said the incident began on Monday afternoon when the suspect walked out of a Rite Aid in Queens with $1,200 worth of stolen items, WNBC reported.
Surveillance video from nearby businesses allegedly shows the suspect, wearing a white T-shirt, running across a busy road trying to get into a parked car after seeing police, WCBS reported.
Police said that the suspect opened the door of a Nissan Altima with a 57-year-old man sitting inside, and tried to wrestle the driver out of his own car, WABC reported. The two struggled over the steering wheel, and the gas pedal was accidentally depressed, causing the car to slam into the KFC.
Video courtesy of WNYW:
“I was impacted — I was parked right there and he almost missed me by a second,” Olga Valareco told WABC. “He could’ve hit me. I heard him, moved, he speeded up and crashed into the KFC.”
In cellphone video obtained by WCBS, the victim can be heard saying, “He got a knife in his hand. He said he had a gun.”
Witnesses told WNBC that a KFC manager was inside doing paperwork and suffered a cut to his hand, but nobody else inside the building was hurt. The victim and suspect were taken to the hospital, and both were expected to survive.
In a statement to WCBS, the victim’s family said: “We’re very grateful my cousin is okay, this could have been a lot worse. The bus stop is 5 feet away and if there were anyone there this could have been a tragic day for many families.”
Building inspectors came to look at the KFC and said that while the structure was stable, the owner was ordered to board up the damaged section until it could be repaired, WNYW reported.
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