SLC Police seek suspect who stole car at knifepoint after fleeing from group of neighbors

Posted at 8:00 PM, Apr 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-28 22:00:33-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake City Police are looking for a man who held up a woman at knifepoint inside her own home before stealing her car.

It happened around 7 p.m. Thursday on 1900 East.

Police say the suspect was actually targeting parked cars minutes earlier, just a few blocks away on 1300 South and Emigration Street. That is where he was confronted by neighbors.

"You don't expect to walk out and open your garage door and see a man huddled in a corner," Pat West said.

West was enjoying a quiet evening at home when she heard neighbors looking for a man who had been walking up and down her street, peering through car windows and trying to open doors.

That's when Pat noticed her back gate was open and knew someone had run through her garden. She opened the garage door and found the man crouched behind her snowblower.

"I just stayed back and said, 'What are you doing' and he looked at me and said, 'I'm hiding,'" West said.

The group of concerned neighbors looking for the suspect began to gather around.

"He stood up, took off down the driveway, and not knowing what he was capable of everybody kind of just yelled at him and let him pass," West said.

The neighbors followed the suspect into a cul-de-sac, and that's when police say the suspect started jumping fences and running through back yards.

"I think there were seven calls to 911 from people who were watching and paying attention and actually on his tail to see where he ended up," West said.

The suspect ended up a few blocks away on 1900 East, entering a house through an unlocked back door. Inside, a 43-year-old woman was home by herself.

"He essentially held her up at knifepoint, gaining compliance from her to get her keys and eventually left in her vehicle," said Detective Richard Chipping with Salt Lake City Police.

The woman was not hurt. Her next door neighbor, who has young children, wonders what might have happened if the man had entered her house instead.

"It's not uncommon to have a door unlocked for kids to get in and out, so it's just really unsettling to feel like that could happen in your neighborhood," Jackie Norris said.

The police are now looking for the public's help.

The stolen car is a 2016 Silver Chrysler Town and Country.

As for the suspect, he is described as a man in his twenties who is Hispanic or olive-skinned with a spiky Mohawk. He was wearing dark clothes and a camouflage jacket.

Anyone with information in the case should call Salt Lake City Police at 801-799-3000.