Super Shuttle: San Francisco Airport Van Hijacking "Totally Bizarre"

A passenger got behind the wheel and stepped on the gas while the shuttle’s driver was loading luggage into the van.

By Riya Bhattacharjee
|  Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014  |  Updated 10:07 PM PDT
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File image of a Super Shuttle van in Boston. (PRNewsFoto/SuperShuttle International)

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Police are looking for a man suspected of hijacking a San Francisco International Airport Super Shuttle van full of passengers in what a spokesperson for the bus service is calling a "totally bizarre" incident.

The Super Shuttle van was out picking up passengers in downtown San Francisco around 3:56 a.m. Sunday, when it picked up the suspect from a sidewalk, San Francisco Police Department spokesperson Albie Esparza said.

The suspect provided a different name than what was in the reservation, making the excuse that his girlfriend had made a mistake when she booked the van for him.

The driver allowed the suspect to board the shuttle. When the shuttle operator pulled over on O’Farrell Street near Powell Street to help load a passenger’s luggage, the suspect jumped into the driver’s seat and started the van.

The shuttle driver was able to jump back on the van and hung from the side door as the suspect drove away at a low speed.

The shuttle driver kept hanging for about a block before jumping off and calling 911.

The passengers in the van got into a physical struggle with the suspect on New Montgomery Street, managing to jump out of the van, retrieve their luggage and share a cab to the airport.

The suspect drove off by himself in the van, which  was later located in Alameda County near the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, Esparza said.

Super Shuttle spokesperson Margaret Nathan described the incident as “totally bizarre.”

“The company is 30 years old and this is the first time something like this has ever happened,” she said. “We are wondering, why would anybody choose to commit a crime with a very branded van? We are very grateful that the passengers overwhelmed him and were able to get away in a taxi.”

Nathan said that Super Shuttle has not yet heard any concerns from passengers about the incident.

“In fact, people have been tweeting really positive things about us,” she said.

Esparza described the suspect as a 30-year-old mixed-race male, 160 pounds, 5’5” tall, brown hair and eyes, last seen wearing a green t-shirt.

Investigators are talking to the driver and the passenger of the hijacked van to find out more information about the hijacking.

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