Sunday, March 24, 2002
Infant returned to mother after carjacking in Naples suburb

By Ward Sanderson, Naples bureau
European edition, Thursday, March 21, 2002

NAPLES, Italy ó An Air Force memberís wife was recently carjacked in Varcaturo, a Naples suburb.

The pistol-toting thief drove away with the womanís child still inside the vehicle, sending the mother running down the street in pursuit, Lt. j.g. Susan Henson, a Navy base spokeswoman.

The woman was driving at about 9:30 a.m. on March 5 when a second vehicle flashed its headlights at her, with the people inside motioning for her to stop, Henson said. She did.

It was too late by the time she saw the pistol. Some of the passengers of the other vehicle had gotten out and approached her, a gun clearly stowed in one personís belt. Once the thieves noticed the child was inside, they stopped.

The mother and child were reunited, and were uninjured. The carjackers then took off with the car. There have been no arrests in the incident.

Other details about names, ages or type of vehicle were not available, Henson said.

Though carjackings are rare in Naples, car thefts are not.

Military security records show that as of the end of February, a total of 27 cars had been stolen from people stationed in the area this year.


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Tips for road safety

∂ Select a plain car.

∂ Consider not using a government car that announces ownership.

∂ Keep tabs of your keys.

∂ Keep your tires in good condition and your gas tank half full.

∂ Park only in well-lit areas.

∂ Lock you car at all times.

∂ Donít leave your car on the street at night if possible.

∂ Never leave garage doors unlocked or open, and use a remote door opener.

∂ Enter and exit your car inside a garage, if possible

∂ Always look for anything suspicious while driving, and donít leave your car without looking around first.

∂ Check under seats for suspicious objects.

∂ Vary routes and modes of travel, and try not to drive late at night.

∂ Avoid lonely roads and dark alleys.

∂ Have "safe havens" along regular routes in case of trouble.

∂ Ride with seat belts buckled, doors locked and windows closed.

∂ Donít let your vehicle get boxed in. Keep a minimum of 8 feet between your vehicle and the next, and avoid inner lanes.

∂ Beware of tricks to get you to stop: cyclists falling in front of your car, disabled cars along the road, workers trying to flag you down, unusual detours or accidents.

∂ If you are in trouble, sound your horn if doing so wonít put you or your passengers in more danger.

∂ If chased, put another vehicle between you and your pursuer.

∂ Try an immediate "turn and escape." Donít jump curbs at faster than 35 miles per hour.

∂ Ram a blocking vehicle if absolutely necessary.

∂ Go to your "safe haven," and report the incident to security.

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