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Manual transmission foils Pittsburgh carjackers

| Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, 1:06 p.m.

A stick shift stopped two would-be carjackers who robbed a man at gunpoint in Pittsburgh.

Police said the victim, 28, was in his car on North Euclid Avenue in the East Liberty neighborhood Tuesday night when a man tapped the barrel of a gun on the driver's side window.

The man got out of his car, and the gunman and a second suspect demanded money, said public safety spokeswoman Emily Schaffer.

When the victim revealed he had none, the suspects took his cellphone and asked for the car keys — but lost interest in taking the car when he mentioned it's a stick-shift, Schaffer said.

“We typically don't hear about too many situations where the thieves decide to not take a vehicle in a carjacking based on the type of transmission,” Schaffer said. “Fortunately, the victim was not injured in this incident and nothing further, including his vehicle, was taken.”

The suspects took off toward East Liberty Boulevard, Schaffer said. Both were black men and wore black ski masks, black hooded sweatshirts and black pants. They are believed to be 17 to 22 and about 5 feet 10 inches tall.

WardsAuto, which tracks car manufacturing data, says about 7 percent of vehicles sold in the United States in 2014 had manual transmissions. That's down from about 35 percent in 1980.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to contact police.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8519 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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