Man still at large after carjacking elderly woman, crashing car

LEMON GROVE, Calif. -- A man stole an elderly woman's car and purse at gunpoint Friday morning before crashing into two other vehicles and fleeing in Lemon Grove, prompting a police search.

Officers surrounded an apartment building in the 8100 block of Lemon Grove Avenue where the man was believed to be hiding, but searched the building and did not find him, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Office.

It all started when an armed carjacker approached a 75-year-old woman in a Hillcrest parking structure just after 7 a.m., police said.

The robber threatened the woman with a small handgun, snatched her purse and then drove away in her Mazda 3, San Diego police Sgt. Robert Hawkins said.

At about 9:45 a.m., the carjacker was involved in a three-car crash in the 8100 block of Lemon Grove Way in Lemon Grove, according to Hawkins. The man behind the wheel of the Mazda jumped out and ran off.

Injuries from the crash are unknown.

The victim described the suspect as a roughly 5-foot-7-inch, 140-pound Hispanic man in his 30s with a thin build and short hair. He wore a brown jacket and tan pants.

After the unsuccessful apartment building search, officers combed the area for several unfruitful hours before calling of the search.

SDSO worked in tandem with SDPD on the crash investigation and search, as the carjacker crossed between the two agencies' jurisdictions.