A plumber trapped in his stolen van was the victim of a wild ride in Leeds, UK Tuesday when a bold thief tried to steal the Mercedes Spriner plumber’s van in a broad daylight theft. According to a report in the local Yorkshire Evening Post, 27-year-old Steven Windle may be lucky to be alive after the wild and hairy escape attempt.
Windle said that the thief had “literally about five seconds” to make the bold try. The plumber was at work and had opened the van to get some tools. He had apparently just entered the back of the vehicle when the thief took off — with Windle inside.
“He was driving like an absolute lunatic. He kept slamming the brakes on, trying to get me to fly out,” the plumber said.
The whackadoo thief may or may not have known that Windle was in the van when he first took off, but he soon figured it out. The plumber held on for dear life during the crazy chase.
Windle grabbed a crowbar to try to break down the wooden barrier between the front and back of the vehicle. That did it for the wannabe plumber’s van thief. He jumped out and fled on foot.
But the van continued to roll, with Windle trapped inside. With no one at the wheel, it apparently sped up again, hitting a wall and a parked car before it finally came to a stop.
By a miracle, Windle walked away, although he did get checked at a hospital to make sure he would be OK.
At last report, the thief was still on the lam. At the time of writing, Yorkshire police hadn’t given many details about who he was or why he made the desperate escape attempt, saying that it was an ongoing investigation.
In April, there were reports that thieves in the area might be posing as plumbers to get access to people’s homes, but there isn’t any real evidence that the two events are related.
And the stolen van itself may be a total loss for the plumber.
[colorful English plumber’s van photographed in Pimlico by Oxyman via Wikimedia Commons]