South Carolina

Woman used a snake to steal car, SC police say. She then drove into pole vaulting site

A woman with a snake and some sticks stole a car and drove downtown. It’s not the beginning of a joke, according to police in the Upstate.

An unnamed female suspect in a carjacking threw sticks and a live snake at a woman before stealing her car, the Greenville Police Department said in a statement.

Around 8:30 p.m. Friday near an upscale apartment complex in East Greenville, the carjacker approached her victim with the unusual projectiles. After throwing the wood and the snake, the suspect punched the victim and stole her keys and drove away with the victim’s silver Honda CRV, police said.

Around the time of the vehicle theft, the stage was set for a pole vaulting competition in downtown Greenville, featuring 2016 Olympic silver medalist and Greenville High School graduate Sandi Morris. Police barricaded part of Main Street in preparation for the Saturday event known as the Liberty Bridge Jump-Off. Officers working at the road closure saw a silver SUV driving erratically. Police didn’t know then, but the driver was the snake-wielding carjacker.

The suspect drove through the barricades and into the pole vaulting site, damaging equipment, according to the department. Police tried to pull over the driver, but she continued to wind through some of the busiest parts of Greenville’s downtown. She crashed into another vehicle with a mother and daughter inside. That didn’t stop the suspect.

She jumped out of the stolen SUV and ran, the department said. An officer gave chase and quickly caught her. But it still wasn’t over.

She fought the officer who was trying to arrest her, according to the department. Police backup arrived and they were able to take the woman into custody.

The suspect complained of a hurt shoulder and was taken to get medical treatment. No other injuries were reported.

After the ordeal, police found out it was the birthday of the mother whose car was hit by the suspect.

David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.