Carjacker couldn’t figure out how to operate BMW gear shift, so he got out and carjacked a Chevy: prosecutors

CHICAGO — An 18-year-old man who hijacked a BMW—but gave up when he couldn’t figure out how to operate the car’s transmission—ran down the street and carjacked another driver, prosecutors say.

When Chicago police arrested Marcus McNeal shortly after he took the second car on November 4, he had a gun and still had the BMW’s key fob in his pants pocket, officials said. But prosecutors didn’t approve carjacking charges in the case until this month.

The BMW’s owner parked in the 9900 block of South May and was soon confronted by McNeal, who pointed a gun at him while wearing a ski mask and gloves, prosecutors said in a court filing. He allegedly threatened to shoot the 65-year-old Ohio man if he didn’t surrender the car keys.

McNeal ran into trouble almost immediately after he climbed behind the wheel. He “made several attempts to shift the gear into drive and was unable to due to a button also needing to be pressed to shift gears,” the filing said.

He gave up and ran away.

Marcus McNeal | Chicago Police Department

But he may not have gone very far. As police responded to the hijacking call, a 65-year-old California man flagged them down. He told them he was in the 10000 block of South May when a man wearing a ski mask tapped on the window of his Chevy Traverse with a handgun and ordered him to get out.

He complied, and the hijacker drove away with the car after a woman jumped into the passenger seat.

Chicago police soon located the Chevy. As they tailed the SUV, an OnStar employee used remote technology to bring the vehicle to a stop. Officers arrested McNeal after he ran from the driver’s seat, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors charged McNeal with possession of a stolen motor vehicle and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in connection with the Chevy theft. They did not file carjacking charges, which carry stiffer penalties.

They also did not charge him at all in connection with the attempted hijacking of the BMW.

McNeal was released the next day, and he stopped showing up for court last week, about six days after a judge signed an arrest warrant in the BMW case.

Chicago police arrested McNeal on Thursday when he walked into the Calumet (5th) District Police station, and officers recognized him, according to a CPD arrest report. He is now charged with carjacking the BMW owner.

Judge Charles Beach ordered him detained to await trial on Saturday. Among the reasons Beach cited for jailing McNeal were allegations that he had a gun and the BMW key fob when police arrested him and the fact that both hijackings were caught on video.

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