Quick mom saves her daughter

Man allegedly tries to steal car with child inside

By Diana Hefley
Herald Writer

EVERETT – A would-be thief found out just how strong a mother’s love can
be when he picked the wrong car to steal.

Laneil Trapp ripped the man out of her car as he attempted to steal it
while she was pumping gas at an Everett station on Monday.

Inside the car was her 8-year-old daughter.

Kevin Nortz / The Herald
Laneil Trapp of Everett recalls her struggle at an Everett gas station
with an alleged car thief who nearly drove off with her 8-year-old
daughter in the back seat.”I couldn’t let him get away with my daughter.
He could have my car, just not my daughter,” Trapp said Tuesday.

The suspect, 42, was arrested after two bystanders chased him down. He
was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of attempted
kidnapping, attempted theft and assault. He was being held in lieu of
$75,000 bail.

Police describe the incident like this:

Trapp stopped for gas about 5:15 p.m. at the AM/PM at 4030 Rucker Ave.
She noticed a man check out an unoccupied car at a gas pump and walk away.

She didn’t think anything of the man when she went to pay at an automated
machine about 7 feet from her car.

But the man noticed Trapp. While she was paying for the gas, he jumped in
the front seat of the unlocked vehicle.

Trapp, 27, ran to her car, thrust her hand in the door before he was able
to close it, and clamped onto the man’s jacket. She was screaming at him,
yelling for help and pulling at the man as hard as she could. The suspect
started the car, revving the engine.

Trapp’s daughter, frightened by her mother’s screams and the “bad man’s
swearing,” jumped out of the car.

Trapp, who is about 7 inches shorter than the suspect, pulled the 6-foot,
160-pound man out of the car, losing a shoe in the struggle.

The suspect seemed stunned by the woman’s strength, witness Amber
Rotherick said. He looked at Rotherick and yelled, “This woman is crazy.”

The suspect ran from the station, but onlooker Glenn Magnuson wasn’t
about to let him go. Magnuson, 24, had heard the commotion while he was
pumping gas, saw the man stumble from the car and run.

He checked to make sure Trapp and her daughter were not injured, then
followed the suspect.

“I didn’t want him to get away. I have three little sisters. That little
girl would have been gone. I thought he deserved a least to go to jail,”
the Marysville man said.

Magnuson and another man followed the suspect around the back of the gas
station. The man eventually walked back toward the station, and Magnuson
yelled for police.

Trapp’s daughter called Magnuson a hero.

Her daughter is a hero, too, Trapp said. She did the right thing in a

Trapp, her arms still sore from wrestling with the suspect, hopes her
story will be a warning to other parents to lock their car doors and
never leave their keys in the ignition. And her daughter will be pumping
gas with her from now on, Trapp said.

“I want people to be more aware of their surroundings,” she said. “It
sounds horrible, but be suspicious of people.”

Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or hefley@heraldnet.com (Link:

Copyright © 2005 The Daily Herald Co., Everett, Wash.

Leave a Reply