YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The manager of the Canfield Road Family Dollar who reports said was pulled into a van by a shoplifter late Tuesday said all she wanted was the license plate number on the van.
Gina Whitacre said outside the Youngstown Police Department Wednesday that she was not trying to retrieve the stolen items, but she went outside to get the plate number when she was grabbed and tossed inside.
“I’m not fighting these big guys, it’s just stuff. They kept hitting me and hitting me and hitting me,” she said through tears. “I thought I was going to die.”
You can watch her full interview in the player below:
Police were first called to the store about 10:05 p.m. Tuesday for a report of a robbery and a kidnapping. They were told a man came in, filled a basket with several items, then said “see you ladies later” before running into the van in the parking lot.
Whitacre ran outside and was pulled inside the van and the driver drove away.
“I grabbed the shifter and snapped it back as far as I could trying to break it off,” she said. “If I could get the car to stop I could get out.”
She was hitting the driver and someone in the back was hitting her, she said.
“I’m hitting the driver and scratching his eyes and trying to get out,” Whitacre said.
Whitacre said when the car got to Bears Den Road, she thought they would throw her off a bridge there.
“I told them ‘I have kids,’ I told them everything, I said just please let me out,” she said through tears.
Whitacre was able to get out of the car on Billingsgate Avenue. A door opened and she jumped out of the car. One of the men ran after her, but she recognized a customer she knows and asked them to call police. The man chasing her got back in the car, which backed out of the drive, almost hitting another car and drove off.
She asked her customer to take her back to the store and the customer agreed.