No way was thief going to get this grandma’s Jeep

Here’s one grandma and Miami Dolphins fan no car thief should mess with.

Here’s one grandma and Miami Dolphins fan no car thief should mess with.

Karen Hooper was watching TV (political pundit George Stephanopoulos) at about 9 a.m. on Sunday, relaxed in her jammies, slippers and robe at the Cedar River Terrace apartments, where she’s the onsite manager

She wanted to take a shower before the Dolphins game. A “funny noise” outside distracted her. She looked out her blinds. Just a few feet away, she could see someone moving around in her red 1994 Jeep Cherokee.

She called 911. And, still in her robe, she ran out to her Jeep. “Get out of my car,” she yelled.

Inside, was a young man in his late teens, trying to start her Jeep. Next to him was a backpack.

Hooper saw her chance. Hooper, 64, grabbed for the man’s backpack, thinking there was something inside that would identify the man.

“If he’s going to take my car, I am going to get his backpack,” she said. “That backpack was coming with me.”

At this point, he was sitting in the driver’s seat and she was leaning into the Jeep. Never did she actually get into the car with the man.

The man had punched a hole in the passenger-side window to get to the door lock.

His head was covered with a hood and she could see his tennis shoes. That would prove important later when she was asked by police to identify a suspect.

Friends have asked why she potentially put herself at risk. But, she said, she was keeping her eyes on the man’s hands all the while.

“The only thing that could have hurt me was a gun,” she said.

He was busy jamming a screwdriver or something into the steering column, trying to get the Jeep started.

Finally, he gave up, grabbed the backpack and ran off toward the nearby Cedar River. He changed sweatshirts on the run, ran across the river, then ran back again.

About a half-dozen Renton police cars arrived; the suspect was arrested about six blocks away on a residential street.

Still in her pajamas and slippers, Hooper was taken in a police cruiser to ID the man. She worried about her attire. No one cares, the officer assured her.

Besides, she said, “it was a big robe.”

She asked that the young man pull up the hood on the sweatshirt. She wanted to see his profile, too. At that point, she knew it was him.

Now, Hooper is facing a bill of several hundred dollars to get the broken passenger-side window and the damaged steering column repaired. Then there’s the $88 towing charge.

At least the would-be Jeep thief didn’t get away.

Dean A. Radford can be reached at 425-255-3484, ext. 5050, or at