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Mission carjacking crooks had eyes on a prize

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A Cadillac Escalade belonging to a limo company was carjacked in The City while dropping off passengers who were picked up at Oakland airport. - AP FILE PHOTO
  • AP file photo
  • A Cadillac Escalade belonging to a limo company was carjacked in The City while dropping off passengers who were picked up at Oakland airport.

Three travelers who hailed one of the swankiest possible rides from Oakland International Airport on Tuesday ended up with quite an eyesore.

Pepper-spraying carjackers attacked the stunned travelers while a limo company driver was unloading their luggage from his black Cadillac Escalade in San Francisco’s Mission district, police said.

The victims, two San Francisco men and another from the Lake Tahoe area, hailed the Escalade from the airport and asked to be dropped off in the 3000 block of 17th Street. The driver reached the destination about 2 a.m. and helped unload their luggage, police Officer Albie Esparza said.

Two men then appeared out of nowhere, dousing the travelers with pepper spray while hollering something along the lines of "Do you know what’s going on?" police said.

The pair sped off in the Escalade, with one of the traveler’s bags still in the vehicle, Esparza said.

Shortly thereafter, Esparza said, a police patrol car passed the Escalade and the officers were instantly suspicious — they saw the Escalade being tailed by a GMC Yukon Denali.

One of the sport utility vehicles ran a stop sign, police said, prompting the cops to make a U-turn. But when they found the Escalade in the 300 block of Van Ness Avenue, it was unoccupied, Esparza said. The Yukon was double-parked nearby, with the driver inside.

Cops detained the female driver of the Yukon, Esparza said. She was questioned and released due to a lack of evidence. No arrests had been made as of Wednesday afternoon.

The three travelers were treated at the scene for eye irritation, Esparza said, and the limo company driver was not injured.

Police said they don’t believe crooks are targeting limo company vehicles because many of the businesses have methods to track them, such as GPS.

"They don’t necessarily know that they were stealing a limo company’s [SUV]," Esparza said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com