Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Public safety

Holiday woman, 57, fights off would-be car thief

NEW PORT RICHEY — Police said Joseph David Stamper picked the wrong car to steal.

Sandra Berryman was outside Kmart on U.S. 19 in New Port Richey on Tuesday afternoon, loading her car with a new TV when Stamper came by and shoved her, said New Port Richey police Sgt. Erik Jay.

Stamper jumped behind the wheel. But rather than run, Berryman got in the passenger seat before Stamper could escape.

The 57-year-old Holiday woman fought with Stamper as he drove away.

"She was hitting, kicking and biting him," Jay said.

Stamper tried to throw her from the moving car, but she held her ground. After driving about 500 feet to behind a car dealership, Berryman managed to put the car in park. That's when Stamper gave up.

He got out and ran.

Jay said he arrived soon thereafter. Bystanders told him Stamper had fled to a nearby neighborhood, where Jay said he found Stamper walking down the street. Residents said he was pounding on doors, trying to hide in their homes.

At first, Stamper resisted arrest, but stopped momentarily when another officer wielded his stun gun. Officers started searching him, and Stamper told them, "All I got is weed and Xanax," according to a report.

In addition to the drugs, reports say, he was also carrying a pocket knife. He put up more of a fight with officers than with Berryman, kicking the windows from inside an officer's car.

Stamper, 29, of New Port Richey, was charged with armed carjacking, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, possession of marijuana and resisting arrest. He was being held in the Land O'Lakes jail Wednesday in lieu of $193,000 bail.

Before Tuesday, records show Stamper had been arrested 25 times since 1999, with charges ranging from sexual assault to possession of drugs and car theft.

Gage Bentley can be reached at (727) 869-6250 or [email protected]

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