A carjacking victim lost thousands of dollars she’d recently put down on her new car because the carjacker totaled it.
Elizabeth Slentz was in her SUV waiting at a traffic light at Telegraph Road and East Drive in Alexandria, Virginia, when a gunman approached.
”He stood right where I was sitting, in front of the windshield, and pointed the gun at me,” she said.
“And then he said, ‘Get out. I’m desperate,’” Slentz said.
The carjacker raced down nearby streets, crashing into four cars and finally a tree.
“All four sides looked like they were used as a derby car, a demolition derby,” Slentz said.
Even the inside was trashed, with seats torn apart.
The SUV was just eight months old with only 5,000 miles on it. Her insurance company declared it a total loss.
“My initial thinking is, I'll be out the payments that I paid on it for the last 8 months, OK, I can suck that up, but I didn't expect to be out the complete $10,000 I put down,” Slentz said.
Because of depreciation, she’s getting only $2,000 after paying off her loan.
“I've been carjacked and now I'm out thousands of dollars and I don't have the money to start all over again,” she said.
She quickly realized there was little help for victims like herself.
“It actually scared me,” she said.
Victims impacted by crime in Virginia can get financial assistance from a state mandated victims fund, but it does not always offer money for victims like Slentz, who lost property.
“We hear the same thing through burglary victims,” Fairfax County Victim Services Saly Fayez said. “There's certain things that can be compensated and certain things that can't. It's the property crimes vs. long-term medical necessities and things like that.”
While Slentz’s auto insurance company is honoring the terms of the policy, it's still hard to take when she's left without a vehicle or the means to buy one.
“It doesn't seem fair that you didn't do anything to have your car totaled,” she said. “You have no recourse.”