NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A Xavier University student who was carjacked while driving home from the gym Thursday night (Nov. 29) is taking matters into her own hands, and said her investigation already has a lead.
Kenya Meredith, a junior at Xavier, said she could not believe what happened to her.
“I honestly thought it was a prank,” Meredith said, laughing.
But it was no joke.
Meredith was stopped at a light near Crowder Boulevard and I-10 in New Orleans East and was first in line on a virtually empty street when she heard a boom.
“I looked in my rear-view mirror and I saw there was a car behind me and I thought, ‘oh, they must’ve hit me,'" Meredith said.
So, Meredith did what most of us would have done -- she got out of her car and checked for damage. Seeing none, she gestured to the driver, telling them not to worry. But Meredith said something was off.
The driver did not get our of the car, she said, and no one moved at all for about 30 seconds. And then, the passenger made a move.
“She got out of the car and she went around her car, and was talking to me like she was concerned about what was happening,” Meredith said. “So I was like, ‘Yeah, you know, there’s no damage, everything is OK.'"
Meredith would soon learn everything would not stay OK.
“She began to get closer to me and I’m like ‘what’s going on,’ and she started walking towards the front of my car, so I’m following her and I’m like, ‘Hey, what are you doing,'" Meredith said. “And then she literally hopped in my car.”
Meredith was shocked.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ I literally freaked out. I had a panic attack literally in the middle of the median,” she said.
After calling police as making a report, Meredith launched an investigation of her own and a fraud alert from her credit card company gave her the first clue. She tracked down the Walgreens where someone had just tried buying $100 of merchandise, and described the car thief to employees, who confirmed it sounded like the woman who tried to use Meredith’s card.
Instead of just telling police, Meredith went to the store herself and grabbed a photo off of video surveillance.
“I know it sounds crazy,” Meredith said. “I’ve just heard of people getting their car stolen and I knew that this is something I have to look for, as well. I can’t just rely on police officers to do it because there’s a lot more going on in the city.”
Now, Meredith said she is doing all she can to track down one of her most necessary and prized possessions, from posting the image on social media to scouring Craigslist for its parts.
“I do want justice, but I really want my car,” Meredith said. “I just feel like this is something that shouldn’t happen to anyone and just taking someone’s vehicle in all of their personal belongings is really messed up.”
Meredith said she did learn a few things from her experience, like not to trust everyone, be aware of your surroundings, and if you’re in a car crash, take the keys out of the ignition, roll up windows and lock the car when you get out to check for damage.
“Hopefully I can find some good out of this, but right now, I’m still searching,” Meredith said.