Electric car thwarts would-be carjackers

ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- A St. Louis man believes he may be one of the first victims of an attempted carjacking involving an electric vehicle. Fortunately, it seems that type of car may have prevented thieves from getting what they were after.

The victim, who goes by the name "Dan Dan The Driving Man," said he thought his life was over on the weekend of May 19 as he was recharging his electric vehicle at a station on South Grand.

Dan told KTVI he uses that station because it can charge his vehicle in 30 minutes as opposed to 4 to 6 hours at his home.

“A female put a gun to my head and another one over here and a man coming in on the right. I had three guns pointed at me. They said, ‘Give us your car and your money or we’ll shoot you,’” Dan said.

Dan, who works as a ride-share driver, gave the suspects $40 and his cellphone. But he said they failed to steal his electric car.

At first, the three suspects tried to drive away while the vehicle was still plugged in.

“The car will not leave or go anywhere until it’s unplugged,” Dan said.

Then the car wouldn’t start because Dan kept his key fob on him.

“When I step back, the car won’t go without me,” he said.

The woman jumped in the driver’s seat and couldn’t get it moving.

“She’s panicking because she can’t find the key. I said, 'It doesn’t have a key, it’s a smart car.’”

Finally, he said the suspects made him drive. But that didn’t work because the car wasn’t charged, so the suspects ultimately fled on foot.

Dan’s friend, Wendell Phillips Berwick, said Dan is a good person.

“He has given himself for 20 years, giving the homeless free rides all over St. Louis,” Berwick said.

Dan’s goodness was obvious in his message for the three suspects.

“Turn yourself in. I forgive you. Sometimes you have to deal with the consequences that we suffer as the result of bad choices, but we can come back from that,” Dan said.

Police don’t have any suspects in the robbery. Dan said he can laugh about the suspects’ failed attempts now, but at that time he feared his life could come to an end.