Driver foiled attempted axe-wielding carjacker by asking him to pray, police say

The bizarre encounter was part of an eight-week crime spree that also included holding up a bank

Io Dodds
San Francisco
Tuesday 14 November 2023 23:46 GMT
Traffic flows along Interstate 55 in June 2022 in St Louis, Missouri
Traffic flows along Interstate 55 in June 2022 in St Louis, Missouri (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

A driver in St Louis managed to deter an axe-wielding carjacker by offering to pray with him, police claim.

City prosecutors have charged Romel S Taylor, 37, with a string of crimes ranging from holding up a Bank of America branch to burgling a tool storage shed.

Among them was an incident on 18 October in which Mr Taylor allegedly ambushed the driver of a silver Audi while they were getting out of their car and threatened them with an axe.

"As the defendant displayed the weapon and told Victim 1 to give him the keys, Victim stated: 'Will you pray with me?'" reads a probable cause statement filed by St Louis police with the court.

"Victim 1 then began praying, which caused the defendant to walk away."

Police claim that this bizarre incident was part of an eight-week crime spree stretching across the Missouri metropolis, beginning on 15 September with the alleged theft of a leafblower and other tools.

On 20 October, two days after his brush with the divine, Mr Taylor allegedly walked into a bank and gestured as if he had a gun, making off with just over $4,000.

Police say he then mounted a more successful carjacking on 9 November, stealing a black BMW – only to be arrested after the victim tracked the location of their phone, which was still inside the car.

Mr Taylor is charged with three counts of first degree robbery or attempted robbery, one count of second degree burglary, and one count of armed criminal action. It is not clear whether he has entered a plea.

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