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The woman, described as being in her 20s, carjacked vehicles from a parking lot in Irvine and an exit ramp of the San Diego (405) Freeway in Costa Mesa over the course of about 75 minutes Monday evening, police said.
She also attempted to carjack two other cars, one in the same parking lot in Irvine, around 6 p.m., and another from a parking lot in Tustin.
Bystanders helped a female driver fend off the carjacking attempt near the intersection of Jamboree Road and Edinger Avenue around 7:15 p.m., Tustin police Sgt. Sean Quinn said. The suspect fled when witnesses came to the aid of the victim, Quinn said.
The carjackings began in Irvine, where a man had his Volvo S80 taken at knifepoint by the suspect from a parking lot in the 17000 block of Von Karman Avenue, said Irvine police spokeswoman Farrah Emami. That followed an earlier unsuccessful attempt to carjack a female in the same parking lot around 6 p.m.
The Volvo was recovered with minor damage in Costa Mesa around 6:15 p.m., Emami said.
In the meantime, the Orange County Register reported, a man at the wheel of a Prius on the northbound Fairview Road exit from the 405 had a window smashed and was forced out of his vehicle by the suspect. Costa Mesa police Sgt. Mike Manson said that vehicle was recovered in Tustin, near the location of the final, thwarted car-jacking attempt.
Tustin's Sgt. Quinn said a woman fitting the suspect's description -- 5 feet 2, 130 pounds, wearing a navy blue hooded sweatshirt and jeans -- was detained but later released.
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