Witness: Thief nabs car while owner helps friends unload luggage

A man jumped into a Mercedes while its owner was helping friends unload luggage late Monday night — then drove away while witnesses watched in disbelief, a witness said.

“He was walking toward us on the sidewalk, coming up from ocean, and began going into street, which I thought was just crossing street,” a witness said in a message. “And then all of the sudden he jumped into our friend’s car and drove off.”

The incident occurred at 11:55 p.m. Monday in the 200 block of Marguerite Avenue, according to online police logs.

The suspect was a male with a buzz cut or crew cut and dark hair, about 5 feet 8 inches tall wearing jeans and a short sleeved blue shirt, the witness said. Corona del Mar Today typically does not name crime victims and witnesses.

The witness said her friend was giving her a ride home from the airport to save her taxi fare after a long weekend. They had unloaded their luggage from the trunk of the car, set it on the sidewalk and were hugging goodbye when the man jumped in the car and drove away.

The witness said a Newport Beach police officer spotted the car leaving Corona del Mar and chased it into Irvine, where the driver bolted.

“(T)hey recovered the car, but I think the guy got away,” the witness said. “He just left the car and started running. Unbelievable.”

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