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Man Escapes Carjackers, But Buster Is Missing


A Fountain Valley man washing his car early Saturday was abducted at gunpoint by two carjackers who made him go along with them because of his growling, 140-pound Rottweiler in the back seat.

Police said Earnest Thedford, 48, of Fountain Valley was taken at gunpoint from a carwash about 2 a.m. by the two men.

Thedford, who was driven to San Diego County, Long Beach and then back, escaped about 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Thedford said Sunday that the two carjackers said they did not want to take the car because his dog, Buster, was in the back seat and they were afraid of him.

"They said, "Get back there and get that dog down or I'll kill him and I'll kill you," Thedford said Sunday evening.

Thedford said his abductors forced him into the back seat with Buster.

"I cried," Thedford said. "I said, 'Please don't kill me. Let me go.' "

Thedford, a structural mechanic, said that the kidnappers didn't hurt him, although, he said, he bumped his head on a cement wall in the carwash when the two men approached him.

He said the men played loud music in his car and talked about how much fun they were having, and at one point they stopped and bought Thedford snacks.

Thedford said the men took turns petting Buster after they had been in the car for a while and Buster had stopped growling.

He said the men did not threaten him while they drove around Orange County, Long Beach and San Diego.

"They were just having a good old time," he said. "They were just riding around residential areas just cruising."

Thedford said he had to show the men how to use the stereo system in the 1990 Infinity.

About 5 p.m. on Saturday, Thedford said, he decided to jump from the car and took the opportunity when it stopped at a red light at Golden West and Heil Avenues.

"I ran across two lanes of traffic," he said. "I bolted out of the car, hoping that Buster would be right behind me."

But Buster stayed in the car.

"At this point, we just want to get our puppy back," he said.

Police said they are still looking for the men.

Thedford's fiancee, Berni Harville, said this is an experience that won't be forgotten any time soon.

"We were talking today about setting up a counseling appointment," she said. "This will be hard for him to forget."

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