ST. PETERSBURG — Timothy Savage drove his taxicab to a hotel Saturday night, ready to pick up another fare.
After he pulled up to the Candlelight Inn, at 3405 34th St. N, Dean Anthony Harshbarger, 21, of St. Petersburg, climbed into the passenger seat, Savage told the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. It was raining and Harshbarger had his head covered with a towel.
Savage, 52, was asked to drive to 4363 45th Ave. N. When they arrived, Harshbarger told Savage to pull into the alley, and then he produced a gun and demanded money, Savage told deputies.
Savage slammed on the accelerator and tried to fight Harshbarger for the gun as he drove, he told deputies. The gun turned out to be a toy that broke apart during the struggle. Harshbarger pulled out a knife and threatened to kill Savage, deputies said, as he repeatedly punched him in the face.
Savage stopped the cab and ran away in the alley, but Harshbarger caught up with him and beat him while still demanding money, deputies said. Savage told him the cash was in the cab, so Harshbarger went back to the cab and drove off.
Savage went to a nearby house, where residents called 911. He was taken to a hospital for cuts on his neck and bruises on his face.
St. Petersburg police found his cab abandoned later that day. Deputies said they identified Harshbarger from witnesses at the hotel and found him early Wednesday after he called for a cab at the Hess Gas Station at 3225 34th St. N. Harshbarger told the driver he only had $3 but wanted to be driven a few blocks.
As they drove north on 34th Street, Harshbarger changed his mind and told the driver he wanted to go somewhere else, deputies said. The driver refused and took him back to the gas station.
While the cab was making a turn, a nearby deputy saw Harshbarger in the taxi and recognized him from previous bulletins about the carjacking. The deputy pulled the taxi over and arrested Harshbarger.
He was charged with carjacking with a deadly weapon and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. He remains in Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $60,000 bond.