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Staying Power: Woman Sticks to Stolen 'Bimmer,' Wins Out

October 12, 1987|JEFFREY A. PERLMAN | Times Staff Writer

It was scarier than Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

At 50 m.p.h., clinging to the hood of her car and then crawling through the sunroof, a South Laguna woman stopped a man from stealing her 13-year-old BMW, Laguna Beach police said Sunday.

Sgt. Danell Adams said the incident began when the woman, Marion Staggs, 35, stopped outside a fast food outlet on Pacific Coast Highway at about 6:20 p.m. Saturday.

Thinking she would only be a few minutes, Staggs left the keys in her 1975 BMW sedan, only to turn around and watch a man get in and try to drive away.

"This woman (Staggs) dove onto her car and held onto the windshield wipers as the man drove through the streets at 50 miles per hour, trying to shake her off," said Adams. "She's one gutsy lady."

At one point, Adams said, Staggs climbed up to the sunroof, suck her hand in and grabbed the man's hair. She then ordered him to stop the car, and he did. Afraid the man would drive away if she got back on the ground, Staggs crawled through the sunroof. The driver wanted her to drive him to Hollywood, but she refused, saying it was too far.

Instead, Adams said, Staggs gave him $13 to take a bus, making Staggs' wild ride expensive by amusement park standards.

"We picked him up a half-hour later on Thalia Street," said Adams, who identified the man as a local transient, Christopher Steven Callas, 24. Callas was held at the Orange County Jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, reckless driving and related offenses.

Said Adams of Staggs: "She's bruised and sore, but happy. Her car has some bangs and dents. . . . I went to school with her. . . . She's just a very gutsy lady. She's also very, very lucky."

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