Police search for dealership carjacker

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SAN DIEGO — Police are searching for a man who allegedly carjacked a victim before trying to make a switch at car dealerships in Kearny Mesa and eventually ditched the car in Mission Valley.

Martin Correia, a realtor from Solana Beach, said he was finishing up from an open house in Pacific Beach at 4 p.m. Saturday when he noticed a man driving erratically.

photo“He was going down the wrong road and it looked like his car stalled.  I asked if he needed any help,” said Correia.

Correia said the man — described as white, in his 20s and shirtless — appeared to be under the influence of something as he jumped from the car he was driving into Correia’s Mercedes-Benz.

Police said the suspect had been driving a stolen Honda.

“He said ‘get in the car, I’m a professional racecar driver.’  I said ‘just calm down, let’s get you out of the car.’  That’s when he took off,” Correia said.

Correia said he called police who tracked the carjacker to Lexus and Mercedes dealerships in Kearny Mesa.

“He confronted people in the lots stating he had a weapon and needed a car.  Our officers started converged on the area — based on calls we were getting,” said Lt. Paul Rorrison with the San Diego Police Department.

The suspect apparently ran out of gas and abandoned the car in Mission Valley.  Witnesses say a red compact car picked him up and sped off.

“We’re pretty confident with evidence we’re gathering here — along with videotape from the dealerships — that we’ll be able to find him take him into custody,” said Rorrison.

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