TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa woman is grateful to be alive after she was carjacked in front of her home.
This happened Sunday off East Hillsborough Avenue. The carjacking was caught on camera.
“The moment he threw me on the floor, I thought about my life, my kids,” Jeniffer Rivers said.
Rivera said she feared the worst. “Thank God, he didn’t shoot me,” she said.
It’s 20 seconds Rivera replays in her head. She was getting ready to go pick up her daughter on Sunday afternoon. One of her neighbor’s surveillance cameras shows Rivera open her car door, then seconds later, two young boys walk by. One of them walks over to Rivera as she’s in her car.
“He asked me, ‘ma’am, do you have a charger?’ I looked at his face and I told him, ‘no, I don’t,'” Rivera said.
Rivera says when she was about to close the door, the boy lifted up his shirt, showing a gun.
“I told him, ‘are you for real?’ He said, ‘yes.’ So I didn’t move,” Rivera said.
Rivera says he took the gun out of his pants and pressed it against her side.
“He said, ‘I told you get off your car,'” Rivera said. “So, he grabbed me from my hand and threw me on the floor.”
He closed the door. Rivera got up and tried to open it, but he drove off. The other boy ran, which can be seen on surveillance camera.
“When he was pointing at me, I just said, ‘God,'” Rivera said as she got choked up.
Rivera didn’t want 8 On Your Side to show her face. But she got emotional, and tears ran down her face.
“I don’t sleep,” Rivera said. “Sometimes I think about it like, ‘why me?’ But I’m OK.”
Rivera says she ran inside, and her partner called 911. Police say those two young men ditched her SUV when they realized officers spotted them.
“My cell phone was inside my car,” Rivera said.
Rivera and her partner used the Find My iPhone app and shared that location with officers. Her SUV wasn’t far. The phone was tossed, but police quickly found that too.
Rivera knows this could’ve ended differently, so she’s grateful she’s still here. And for the young men responsible, she has a message for them: “You do that to somebody else, somebody else could have a gun, shoot them or get killed,” Rivera said. “So stop what you’re doing. This is not fun. It’s not a game and you’re going to be caught, if you’re not caught now, three or four months later. They’re going to be caught.”
Police are asking anyone with information about the crime to call detectives at 813-231-6130.