South Sound woman fights for her cell phone during carjacking in Taco Bell parking lot

TACOMA, Wash. — Tiana Costarella said a swarm of teenagers carjacked her as she and a friend sat in a South Sound parking lot. The carjacking happened late Sunday night at a Taco Bell on Pearl Street in Tacoma’s north end. The two women weren’t hurt but the crooks did get away with her car.

Costarella is still feeling the trauma of letting her guard down for a moment outside this Taco Bell.

“You feel stupid, I guess,” Costarella said. “For like being unsuspecting for a second, as a woman.”

Costarella said she and a friend were in her 2023 Acura Integra Sunday night when they decided to use the drive-thru. The Taco Bell dining room was closed.  So, they sat in the parking lot eating and watching videos. Suddenly, two teens ordered them out of the car. She could quickly see they weren’t alone.

“There was like five-plus,” she said. “There was multiple cars. There was two boys that got in my car. So, there was one pulling my friend out. One pulling me out. But when we were looking around there was a car parked there, like a KIA. And there was a boy hanging out of it and boy driving it.”

They sped off in her car.

Could she identify them?

“Not really, no,” Costarella said. “They were wearing all black and masks and such.”

Police Detective Shelbie Boyd said she doesn’t have the stats but car thefts are becoming increasingly common all across Pierce County.

What, she was asked, does she suggest?

“What I suggest is be vigilant,” said Det. Boyd. “Have your doors locked. Watch your surroundings. And if someone is approaching you, if they have a mask on their face or that look that something’s not right, just back out and leave.”

Costarella said she has learned a lesson.

“Won’t be sitting in my car not paying attention,” she said. “Which is something my Dad would have told me not to do. Made a bad call.”

I guess Dads can be right, after all.

But there was one thing she fought to hold onto, her cell phone. As you might guess, police say don’t fight with car thieves ever.

They say instead stay vigilant.