A driver was recently rattled when a thief stole a vehicle outside a suburban Costco gas station and proceeded to drag her while she clung onto the car.
Niketa Patel was filling up her vehicle’s gas tank at the Costco gas station, 7311 N. Melvina Ave. in Niles, when a man suddenly hopped inside.
“I just saw that somebody jumped in my car,” she explained. “He has a ski mask on. So, I was holding the driver’s side door, and I was waving my head, don’t do it. But that guy, he wasn’t scared.”
Patel said the thief took off in her vehicle, dragging her along as she desperately tried to get him to pull over.
“The guy turned on the car and he dragged me from the gas station to the stop sign,” she said. “I fell and I was bleeding from my elbow, and I was screaming.”
The thief took Patel’s phone, purse and car – something she hoped to cherish forever. Her son, Akash, gifted her the black Lexus in 2021. Akash died by suicide three months later.
“For people, it’s only a car,” she stated. “For me it’s my child’s last gift to me.”
The Niles Police Department told NBC Chicago it received reports of three stolen vehicles and two attempted car thefts at the gas station between July 29 and Sept. 25. Each vehicle was taken while the driver was pumping gas with the engine running, according to police.
Niles police are urging drivers to shut off their engine while pumping gas and take their keys with them.
While Patel hopes to one day track down her car, she is urging others to be vigilant.
“I think we need to be more alert, especially in this city,” she stated.