Last Updated on May 28, 2022
An elderly California woman was carjacked while she was handing out meals to her community’s homeless population, law enforcement said.
81-year-old Nina Steinman was distributing food to the homeless outside a Redlands grocery store when the incident occurred this past Monday, according to KTLA.
When Steinman was finished and was closing her trunk, the suspect allegedly forcefully stole her keys and entered the vehicle. Video released by law enforcement shows that Steinman was able to open the door after the suspect was in the driver’s seat, but the man shut it and she was unable to recover her vehicle.
The 81-year-old was dragged and thrown to the ground as the suspect peeled off, but she thankfully managed to walk away with minor injuries.
“Let me tell you, I’m not afraid,” Steinman told KTLA. “I was going to grab his shirt and just drag that little puppy right out of the front seat, but I couldn’t get the door open.”
Shortly after the carjacking, the suspect was spotted on a freeway with the trunk of the vehicle still open.
The elderly woman had been doing the charitable work since January in an effort to help California’s skyrocketing homeless population. Los Angeles Police Department officers later spotted the stolen vehicle, a 2015 Kia Sportage, in a parking in downtown L.A. on Wednesday evening.
The driver, who was arrested on suspicion of being in possession of a stolen vehicle, was identified as 24-year-old Roberto Carlos Sanchez Jr. Redlands police later confirmed that Sanchez Jr. was indeed the suspect they were looking for.
He is currently being held West Valley Detention Center in San Bernardino, California on suspicion of carjacking and elder abuse. His bail was set at $250,000.
Steinman was soon able to recover her vehicle, which was still drivable after the carjacking. The California woman had been distributing meals to the hungry in an effort to help the state’s skyrocketing homeless population since January.