PORTAGE PARK — A woman stole a car idling on a quiet, residential block then crashed into five other vehicles before slamming into a house's garden wall, almost hitting a gas line, police and witnesses said.
Around 8:20 a.m., a man left his car running in the 4800 block of West Warwick Avenue while he waited for it to get warm, according to police. A woman then jumped into the driver's seat and drove to the next block, where she crashed and tried to run away.
Brynn, a woman who lives in the 4900 block of West Warwick and declined to give her last name, had just woken up when she heard a "loud banging," thinking a snowplow had hit something, she said. When she came outside, she saw a pair of shoes on her lawn and car debris scattered around the street.
The car's owner had chased the woman down, grabbed her by the arm and held her until police came and took her into custody, Brynn said.
"She was trying to hop my back fence, yelling something about how she 'had nothing to live for,'" Brynn said. "She definitely seemed like she was on something."
Meanwhile, another woman claiming to be the apparent thief's cousin chased after her with a box of cereal, yelling "Don't hurt her," several neighbors said.
Olga Banegas was watching TV on the second floor of her brick house when she heard a "boom" outside her front door, she said. When she looked outside, she saw her neighbor's car — a Scion — had bowled over her home's garden wall, stopping inches from a gas main.
"Everyone was yelling. It was scary, but no one was hurt," Banegas said. "Thank God the gas line wasn't hit. There could have been an explosion."
No injuries were reported, police said. Charges against the car thief are pending.
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