Cops: Driverless Taxi Foils Would-Be Car Thief

Suspect in Los Angeles faces charges of grand theft auto
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2024 9:55 AM CST
LAPD: Guy Tried (and Failed) to Steal Driverless Taxi
A Waymo driverless taxi stops on a street in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Terry Chea)

He must have thought it would be the world's easiest car theft: A man in Los Angeles popped behind the wheel of a Waymo driverless taxi in Los Angeles, only to discover that he couldn't make the car go, reports NBC News. Instead, he heard a disembodied voice from a Waymo rep asking him to please get out of the fully autonomous vehicle, and when he didn't do so, the rep called police, according to the LAPD.

Vincent Maurice Jones, 33, is now booked on suspicion of grand theft auto, per CBS News. Police say he entered the car in downtown Los Angeles after a passenger exited. Alas, "Jones attempted to put the vehicle in 'Drive' but could not manipulate the controls," says the LAPD. The Waymo self-driving taxis are poised to become an even more common sight in the West: Last week, the California Public Utilities Commission gave Waymo permission to expand its fleet across the greater Los Angeles area. The company also has a foothold in San Francisco and Phoenix. (More Waymo stories.)

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