Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Female Would-be Car Thief Outwitted by Automatic Transmission

Jasmine Hernandez

Jasmine Hernandez

It’s not unusual to hear about would-be car thieves being tripped up by a manual transmission, but a young woman in Phoenix, Ariz., was recently arrested after she failed to get a car with an automatic transmission into gear.

According to the probable cause statement, the car’s owner was dropping off kids on July 27, 2013, and left his engine running. After a few moments inside the home, her heard the car revving up and ran outside to see Jasmine Hernandez, 19, in the driver’s seat looking like she was getting ready to steal his car.

When he opened the car door to stop her, he saw that she was wildly working the pedals, and the headlight and windshield-wiper control stalks in a frantic effort to get the car in gear — unsuccessfully. The arresting officer wrote, “It seem[ed] . . . Jasmine did not know how to operate the vehicle,” probably because she was only familiar with column-mounted gear shifters.

The owner was able to yank her out of the vehicle and hold her until police arrived. Police found that she had an outstanding warrant for aggravated assault and arrested her on that charge.

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