Woman escapes carjacking linked to Sunday crime spree

HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — While police search for a Missouri couple, believed to be connected to multiple crimes in Tuscaloosa and Jefferson Counties Sunday morning, a woman says she avoided being carjacked by the couple during the crime spree.

Zora Harris said Sunday morning started just like any other, when she pulled into her usual parking spot at McDonald’s on Montgomery Highway. Harris was about to begin a 10-hour shift as manager at the restaurant.

Harris said another car pulled up next to hers. She said as soon as she got out, a man opened the door and got out of the other car.

“He got out and he said, ‘Ma’am, I’m fixin’ to rob you,'” Harris recalled.

Harris said the man opened his jacket, revealed a gun in his waistband and demanded Harris hand him the keys to her car.

“I wasn’t thinking about the car,” Harris said. “I was just thinking, ‘Get him away from me!”

Harris said she called out to another McDonald’s employee in the parking lot.

“I said, ‘Gary!’ and I took the key, and I threw it! I said, ‘They’re trying to rob me! They’re trying to rob me!’ Harris said.

Harris said she ran away from her attacker, who got back in the car, which drove off.

Harris said she and her co-workers wrote down the car’s license plate number and called police.

Hours later, police identified the would-be carjackers.

Blake Fitzgerald, 31, brandished the gun, according to police, while Brittany Harper, 31, drove the getaway car after Fitzgerald failed to carjack Harris.

Police say the getaway car, a Volkswagen, had just been stolen from a Microtel Inn and Suites in Tuscaloosa, where Harper and Fitzgerald stole money and kidnapped the overnight manager.

After the couple tried to carjack Harris at McDonald’s, police say they ditched the hotel manager and the Volkswagen in a Vestavia Hills neighborhood, and kidnapped another woman from a nearby home, using her car to escape.

Police say Fitzgerald and Harper dropped that woman off a few minutes later, at Grandview Hospital on Highway 280.

Harris said since she found out that she, too, could have been taken, reality still hasn’t set in.

“I’m blessed. I think I was covered by God this morning. I really was,” Harris said. “Every time I get ready to say it, it makes me want to cry.”

The suspects have been formally charged in connection to the robbery of Harris.

Police say Fitzgerald and Harper are likely armed and dangerous. Anyone who sees the pair is asked to call 911 and advise that felony warrants for the pair exist on Jefferson and Tuscaloosa counties in Alabama.

Police believe the couple are still driving the car stolen from the house in Vestavia, a 2010 silver Ford Edge with the license plate number 2720AG7.

Copyright 2016 WIAT 42 News

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