WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP -- Police in Luzerne County say a trip to the mall turned into a terrifying moment for a teenager this afternoon.
Wilkes-Barre Township Police say a 15-year-old boy was yanked from the car he was sitting by a man who then carjacked the vehicle.
Police say it was in the parking lot of the Wyoming Valley Mall that a brazen thief carjacked a vehicle right in the middle of the busy afternoon.
Police say a 15-year-old boy was sitting in a running car parked near JC Penney while his mother was shopping inside around 3 p.m.
Police say that's when a man approached the car, yanked the boy from the vehicle by his throat and then took off with the car, described to be a white Audi four-door sedan.
People at the Arena Hub Plaza across the street from the mall were stunned.
“That's horrifying. I can't believe that anyone would have the audacity to do that,” said Melissa Stone from West Pittston. “It really makes you rethink things in terms of leaving children in a car regardless of their age apparently.”
“I couldn't even imagine, I mean, I'm 20 years old right now, I couldn't even imagine a kid even,” said Rachel Phinney from Tunkhannock. “They don't exactly know what to do all the time and it would definitely freak them out, but definitely making sure you're safe and locking the doors. I mean, that's the best thing you can do.”
Police say the teenager and another witness described the man as a possibly Hispanic male, wearing a white shirt and jogging pants.
They said when the man left, he took off on Mundy Street.
Police say then another witness, the driver of a pickup truck said that a white Audi hit him on Kidder Street.
The pickup truck driver tried to follow the Audi but lost him on Interstate 81.
The Audi has not been recovered.
“If it wasn't so tragic, it's like something you would hear online as a joke,” said Joe Cammisa from Swoyersville. “Like, oh a kid gets choke slammed out of a car, car got stolen, slammed into a pickup truck, in this area.”
Police say the teenager was not hurt in the carjacking.
If you have any information you are asked to contact Wilkes-Barre Township Police.