Aras Grinius, local man, risks life to stop carjacking

Aras Grinius (Photo: WJLA)

Saturday morning police say an 18-year old man named Hodifa Tunalli tried to steal a $12,000 Mini Cooper from the Fairfax Autogallery. While pretending to be a customer, he allegedly grabbed the keys off the desk and tried to drive it away.

An employee stopped him and he ran off. But police say Tunalli came back that afternoon in different clothing and tried again. This time a customer, Alexandria's Aras Grinius, stepped in.

“I just walked outside, lit up a cigarette, offered him one, tried to distract him,” Grinius says.

What he doesn't say is that he stood in front of the car so Tunalli couldn't drive away. Instead, Tunalli ran off, but police caught him in a nearby parking lot.

“Me and four of the Fairfax police were over there and they found him outside the Kinkos,” says manager Mario Garrett.

Garrett says Grinius put his life on the line and said honestly, he didn't know if he'd be willing to do that.

“You don't know what he had on him, knife, gun or something like that, people are crazy these days,” Garrett says. “I would have said hey, look, call the police let them deal with it.”

Grinius, who worked as a contractor for the U.S. Army and built the U.S. Embassy's computer network in Iraq says: “I just felt it was the right thing to do.”