Carjacker uses stolen hammer to steal truck in Home Depot parking lot

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Clearwater police say a man armed with a stolen hammer threatened people in the parking lot of Home Depot, trying to steal their vehicles.

He eventually got away with one truck and, as of Wednesday night, police were still searching for him.

Around 11 a.m. Wednesday, police say the man stole a hammer from the store, located on Gulf to Bay Boulevard and U.S. 19.

The second crime happened outside in the contractor loading area, where the suspect tried to carjack a truck from two men. But one of the men fought back.

"That individual got into a confrontation with him and prevented him from carjacking that truck," said Rob Shaw, public information officer for the Clearwater Police Department. "That's when he ran directly from that vehicle to the next vehicle in the parking lot and that was his next choice."

17-year-old Jake Brown was sitting in his dad's pickup truck with the engine running while his dad shopped inside.

"I was just sitting on my phone playing games and somebody just hops in with a hammer, waving it, going crazy, telling me to get out," Jake Brown said.

Jake was startled but managed to dodge the dodged the heavy, swinging tool.

"It was big and it had the claw on the end and everything, so I was scared," he said.

But Jake wasn't about to let the carjacker get away easily.

"I stepped out with one foot, grabbed a tape measure, threw it as hard as I could at him and hit him," Jake Brown said. "He just acted like nothing happened. He just looked at me and then just hit the gas and kept going, gone."

Police say the suspect got away in the 2007 silver Dodge 3500 Mega Cab pickup truck, driving east on the Courtney Campbell Causeway. Investigators hope fingerprints and evidence left behind will lead them to him.

"I think we are very fortunate that nobody was hurt," Shaw said.

Robert Brown, Jake's father, owns the stolen truck. Not only did the carjacker drive off with all of his work tools, but he also has the bracelet of a grandfather who passed away. It's an item that, to the family, is worth more than any truck.

"Trucks are replaceable, tools are replaceable, as long as my son's okay. That's good for me," Robert Brown said.

Anyone with information on the case should call Clearwater Police at 727-562-4242.