Local News

RDU beefs up patrols after attempted carjacking

Posted December 1, 2009 1:05 a.m. EST
Updated December 1, 2009 6:29 p.m. EST

— Police at Raleigh-Durham International Airport stepped up patrols of remote parking lots Tuesday after a man confronted two airport workers late Monday and tried to steal their car.

The incident occurred shortly after 10 p.m. Monday on National Guard Drive near Park and Ride Lot 3, authorities said. The employees were leaving the lot in their work vehicle when a man approached the car, pulled open a door and ordered the workers to get out, authorities said.

The driver sped off, and the man fired a pellet gun at the workers before fleeing, authorities said. Both employees suffered minor injuries.

Park and Ride Lot 3 was shut down for about an hour Monday night as RDU police investigated the incident. People were able to pick up their cars and leave the lot, but no one was allowed to drop off their cars.

"This was an isolated incident. We are treating it as a carjacking and will continue the ongoing investigation," RDU spokeswoman Mindy Hamlin said.

Members of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority said they would review security procedures with airport managers to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.

Area residents who use the remote parking lot said they were surprised by the carjacking attempt, noting they always felt safe leaving their cars there.

"How in the world would somebody come out of their way, so far out of the way, to do this supposed carjacking is beyond me," Raymond Rivera said, adding that he plans to be more aware of his surroundings at RDU.

"My first reaction was it's kind of scary to know that that could happen here," Judy Murray said.

Airport staff and passengers can request police escorts to and from parking lots if they don't feel safe, Hamlin said. Passengers can ask RDU employees in the terminal, who can call airport police, she said.

The suspect is described as a black man, about 5 feet, 6 inches tall with a medium build. He was in his late 20s to early 30s and was wearing a camouflage face mask, a dark green jacket, black pants and a gray hat with ear flaps.

Anyone with information on the suspect's identity should call police.