SFO - A man in a wheelchair carjacked a hotel van outside of San Francisco International Airport early this morning and took passengers on a brief joyride before abandoning the vehicle and disappearing into the pre-dawn darkness, an airport spokesman reported this morning.
The van -- a Doubletree Hotel transport carrying 14 crew members of various airlines -- had arrived at SFO at about 5:30 a.m., airport Duty Manager John Ginty said.
As the van driver got out of his vehicle to help passengers unload their luggage, the alleged van-jacker rolled across the street, hopped out his wheelchair, slipped into the empty driver's seat and sped off.
"He was not handicapped whatsoever," Ginty said. "The wheelchair was just a prop he was using to disguise whatever goal he was trying to accomplish."
The alleged van-jacker twice lapped the airport's upper terminal, driving five passengers who hadn't yet exited the vehicle to retrieve their luggage, before he abruptly stopped the van and walked off into the faint light of morning.
"Nobody really knows which direction he went in -- and the police, to my knowledge, have not apprehended him," Ginty said.
The incident couldn't have lasted beyond 10 to 15 minutes, Ginty said.
Police have interviewed some of the airline crew members who got out of the van before the carjacking but couldn't connect with any of the five passengers who remained aboard the vehicle, Ginty said.
"They were gone, they had flights to
catch," he explained. "As it so happens, we were fortunate that nobody got hurt. Everybody made their flights, and everything's back to normal."
The San Francisco Police Department's airport bureau is continuing the investigation, Ginty said.
Click to view image: '163230-RedneckWheelchair.jpg'
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