WEST ALLIS, Wis. - An auto parts store manager says that, in hindsight, he probably should have exercised better judgment than to leap onto a getaway car carrying two shoplifters as they prepared to speed out of the store's parking lot.
But Darrin Malsack, 30, said Tuesday it all happened very quickly Friday after the men stole a portable DVD system from the Checker Auto Parts store and he clung to the roof of their speeding station wagon with one hand and dialed 911 on his cell phone with the other.
Malsack estimated the vehicle was moving at up to 50 mph as the driver swerved from side to side in a vain attempt to shake him loose.
"They were going too fast for me to jump off safely," he said. "So I just stayed on top and started pounding on the vehicle."
Malsack said he first went to the rear of the vehicle and took the number of the license plate hanging in the back window, but the vehicle then started backing up toward him.
"So I jumped on the station wagon," Malsack said. "I was on the roof as they left the parking lot."
Malsack said he held onto the luggage rack.
"I had a really good grip," he said. "There's no way I was going to fall off."
But he said that, after the car had traveled about seven blocks, he jumped off when it was halted at a stop sign.
Police said the license plate number Malsack gave them did not match the car, described as a silver 1991 Mercury Sable station wagon.
"We would discourage people from endangering their lives over a piece of property," Detective Lt. Christopher Novy said, adding that no one had been taken into custody.
OK, thieves, why would you stop at a traffic sign if you've already taken off from the store with the manager on top? And did they use a fake license plate or did he get the wrong number?