Shoppers describe brazen shoplifting, carjacking attempts at Independence Lowe’s and Costco

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Police say a man tried to carjack an older woman on Monday, and gave shoppers at two busy stores quite a scare. Police say it all started when the suspect shoplifted from a Lowe's, threatening shoppers with a knife, and then attempted to carjack an older lady.

Sonia Sloan said she and her daughter had just finished shopping at their neighborhood Costco in Independence, and as she was filling up her car with gas, she saw 44-year-old Tony Taylor dash by her.

"I just couldn't believe that was happening there. He was running! I mean full force," she described. "There was like two, maybe three people chasing this man."

Police say just after 6 p.m. on Monday, Taylor filled up a shopping cart and stole almost $1,000 worth of tools and other merchandise from the Lowe's. According to court papers, when a loss prevention officer confronted Taylor outside and grabbed his shopping cart, Taylor pointed a folding knife at the employee and shouted "don't even think about it!"

Police say Taylor then grabbed a tool kit, continued running, and when a customer tried to block him, police say Taylor grabbed the victim by the neck, but eventually let the customer go.

"Someone yelled 'get back in your car!' And it was very scary because I panicked. I mean, I was like I can't find my car keys," Sloan said.

Sloan and her daughter were finally safe in their car, but police say Taylor ran over to the gas pumps at Costco and tried to hop into two occupied cars. Police say a knife-wielding Taylor then pulled a woman who was using an oxygen tank out of her minivan and tried to carjack the woman.

"If that had been my grandma, I'd be upset. You can see that he's pulling an older lady out of the car. She's definitely scared," witness John Campbell said.

Investigators say the scared shopper held on to her key fob, preventing Taylor from getting away. About 30 minutes later, the shoppers' frightening encounters with Taylor were finally over after police say two bystanders rushed over, kept Taylor in the woman's van, and kept him locked down until officers arrived.

Police say the older lady was treated at the hospital, and Taylor now sits in jail on a long list of charges.