Woman makes bold move after would-be carjackers pistol-whip her, threaten with a gun

'They seemed like they were scared of me, because I was going ballistic.'
Posted at 6:14 PM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-16 08:36:46-04

TAYLOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — The fear in Rachel Smiglewski only lasted for a few moments when three would-be carjackers approached her in the parking lot of the Target store on Pardee Road in Taylor.

Hear more from Smiglewski about how she turned the table on would-be carjacker

Hear more from Rachel Smiglewski about how she turned the table on would-be carjackers

"They seemed like they were scared of me, because I was going ballistic," Smiglewski told 7 News. "I was like a little gorilla."

It all started around 4:50 p.m. Monday as Smiglewski was sitting in her boyfriend's vehicle waiting to pick him up from work nearby. That's when three young men wearing surgical masks approached the vehicle where the windows were down.

They demanded the keys, her wallet and her phone.

"I was just baffled and so scared," Smiglewski recounted, wondering if she was going to die over somebody trying to steal a car.

She attempted to call 911 when one of the would-be carjackers smacked the phone and hit her in her mouth with the gun. The man then put the gun to her head.

Smiglewski complied and gave him the keys, but what she did next is nothing the trio expected.

Smiglewski became furious. She exited the vehicle and began screaming for help as she banged on top of the car.

"All of a sudden, something snapped in me and I was like, 'you know what? No, I'm not going to let this happen to me. This is not going to happen,'" she said.

Onlookers began calling 911 as Smiglewski continued to yell that she was being robbed and that the people robbing her had a gun.

The would-be carjackers started to back up, but they still had the keys. Smiglewski raced after the three of them.

"I chased after them. We ran the whole parking lot and I was wearing flip-flops. Then I lost my shoes, so my feet are all cut up," she said.

But Smiglewski kept chasing the three masked assailants that she said appeared to be young.

"I was back ready to fight all three of them because they look like they were scrawny little teenagers," she said.

One of the subjects threw the keys at Smiglewski before they ran off and tried to hide from police, who were quick to respond.

One Taylor police officer could be heard on a Broadcastify recording alerting other officers. "BJ's employees just came out," he said. "They said the males are hiding in their bathroom.

Police arrested three teenagers, ages 14 to 18. They also recovered the handgun used to assault and threaten Smiglewski.

We asked Smiglewski where she got the guts to chase after the three would-be carjackers. She replied, "I've had everybody walk all over me and take advantage of me for years and years. You just get sick of it and I'm not going to let anyone do that to me anymore."

Smiglewski said she's just thankful for a number of women who were in the parking lot and didn't hesitate to help her by calling 911.

"There are still good people," she said.

Smiglewski said she will remember to be aware of her surroundings and encourages others to do the same.

"If I had been more alert, I probably would have seen them and I could have gotten away instead of letting them come up to the car," she said.