True Crime Thursday – Poor Choice for a Getaway Vehicle

by Debbie Burke


Photo from Wikipedia


Not enough evidence exists to declare a new crime trend but, from time to time, thefts of motorized shopping carts make the news.

Battery-powered carts are intended for customers with physical disabilities. Yet some thieves—often under the influence—use them as getaway vehicles.

Since the top speed of the typical cart is two miles per hour, none has been involved in high-speed pursuits. So far, the success rate of clean getaways is zero.

But hope springs eternal.

In May, 2009, thefts of motorized shopping carts occurred in two separate incidents. A Florida man was caught riding a stolen cart not far from the store. Two South Carolina men attempted a similar caper. Because the carts were valued at $2500, all were arrested for felonies. If they had stolen regular, non-motorized carts instead, the charges would have been misdemeanors.

In September 2014, a 46-year-old woman from Fruitport Township, Michigan, couldn’t get a ride and didn’t want to walk. So, she put six bags of allegedly stolen clothes, worth $600, in a Walmart motorized cart and took off. She was apprehended two miles away by police who ran her through the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN), along with the man accompanying her. Both had outstanding warrants.

In January 2015, a Eunice, Louisiana man, age 45, who claimed to have a broken foot loaded up a Walmart cart with a half-gallon of vodka, Mardi Gras cups, and other items and headed across the street to a truck stop parking lot. Surveillance video confirmed he had not paid for the items. When police arrested him, the party was cancelled.

In November 2019, a different Louisiana man, age 32, realized he was too drunk to drive his car and worried he might get a DWI. His solution: drive a Walmart motorized shopping cart instead. A Terrebonne Parish sheriff deputy spotted the scooter parked between two cars at a bar a half mile away. After further investigation, he arrested the suspect. The man was charged, not for DWI, but “unauthorized use of a moveable”, a felony.

The above cases might have had better success if they’d chosen a vehicle like Bonnie and Clyde’s V8 Ford for their getaways.

Bonnie Parker – public domain

Clyde Barrow – wikipedia










TKZers: What’s the most unusual getaway vehicle you’ve heard of? Was it successful?

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About Debbie Burke

Debbie writes Tawny Lindholm Thrillers with Passion. The first book in the series, Instrument of the Devil, won the Kindle Scout contest and the Zebulon Award. Additional books in the series are Stalking Midas, Eyes in the Sky, Dead Man's Bluff, Crowded Hearts, Flight to Forever, and Until Proven Guilty. Debbie's articles have won journalism awards in international publications. She is a founding member of Authors of the Flathead and helps to plan the annual Flathead River Writers Conference in Kalispell, Montana. Her greatest joy is mentoring young writers.

29 thoughts on “True Crime Thursday – Poor Choice for a Getaway Vehicle

  1. “I don’t want to get busted for a DUI so I’ll just steal instead.” Ah the wonders of the human mind. 😎

  2. Well, up in my neck of the woods…

    D. B. Cooper – Wikipedia
    [Search domain]
    Dan Cooper is the pseudonym of an unidentified man who hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft in the northwest United States, in the airspace between Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 24, 1971. The man purchased his airline ticket using the alias Dan Cooper but, because of a news miscommunication, became known in popular lore as D. B. Cooper.

    I was a senior in high school at the time. My classmates and I spent an inordinate amount of time debating if he jumped, did he have a parachute, or if his money was scattered across the cosmos.

    Stealing a 747 would surely make the cut… 🙂

    • Snow mobiles are favored getaway vehicles in New Hampshire, too. Last year a reader from Alaska attended one of my book signings and referred to his home state as “New Hampshire on steroids.” ?

  3. Debbie, this post made my morning. Just the smile I needed 🙂

    I wondered if anyone had attempted a getaway on a Segway–a quick Google search revealed that in 2012, in Malmo, Sweden, a drunk man who’d made a scene after being refused entrance to a local nightclub attempted to flee on a Segway and collided with a plain clothes police officer on a bicycle. The officer suffered bruises while the culprit was arrested.

    Speaking of electric shopping carts and misbehavior, I remembered the story of a Texas woman who rode an Walmart one around the store parking lot, drinking wine from a Pringles can and refusing to leave. Not exactly a getaway, but,she was banned from all Texas Walmarts.

  4. I read the first sentences, and the silly chase music from BENNY HILL, “Yakety Sax,” started playing in my head.

    From an overheard conversation from staff at Food Lion, I’ve learned the recent crime wave is that someone steals exactly ten regular shopping carts from the parking lot every day, even during daylight, at local Food Lions. The expense is becoming painful. Crime is real is suburbia.

  5. There is, of course, the story of country music legend George Jones being pulled over on his John Deere riding mower because his wife took his car keys away from him for driving intoxicated one too many times… and yup, he was (allegedly) MUI – mowing under the influence… (a mural was recently unveiled in Nashville in his – or the story’s – honor, appropriately enough on the side of a liquor store – )

  6. I had a strange case of three getaway vehicles backfiring on a hapless crook. This happened in the wintertime. Raymond Sergerie walked away from a low-security facility and jumped into an idling taxi. He joy-rided it to a party house and got s-faced and began acting the a-hole. Party-goers kicked the -s- out of him so he fled on a stolen snowmobile only to get clothes-lined on a barbwire fence.

    Sergerie staggered back to the house where they laid another beating on him for stealing the SkiDoo, then threw him out on the frozen ground. A Good Samaritan took pity on Sergerie and got him away from the scene in the back of a pickup. Enroute to the hospital, the pickup missed a curve and rolled in the ditch, flinging Raymond Sergerie out of the box and face-first into a rock cut – killing him.

  7. Debbie, thanks for this. I’ll never see one of those motorized grocery carts at the supermarket again without thinking of this.

    This isn’t quite a getaway vehicle but country legend George Jones had his driver’s license suspended due to a DUI. He continued to drive to his favorite Nashville watering hole. His wife hid his car keys. Undaunted, Jones gassed up his riding lawn mower and rattled on down the street. He just couldn’t miss Happy Hour.

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