A U.S. Army soldier allegedly tried to steal a taxi at Munich International Airport but couldn't carry out his plan because he didn't know how to drive stick shift.
According to Stars and Stripes, a 19-year-old soldier with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, based in Bavaria, was at the airport to fly back to the U.S. last Wednesday when he saw a Mercedes taxi with no one sitting inside and the key in the ignition.
The driver was “outside the vehicle, leaning on the hood, enjoying the fine summer weather,” Stars and Stripes reported.
The soldier allegedly jumped inside and started the car but was “apparently not prepared for the Mercedes' transmission,” Stars and Stripes reports a German police statement as saying.
While the car was “juddering violently” as the soldier tried to get it into gear, the driver “got into the front passenger's seat to try to stop him.”
The soldier eventually put the vehicle into gear and started driving, but then quickly crashed into a post on the side of the road.
The soldier then “punched the cab driver in the face before trying again to drive off,” abandoning the vehicle when he realized it wasn't going anywhere and running “straight into the arms of police officers,” per Stars and Stripes.
Stars and Stripes reports that the accident did around $11,800 worth of damage to the car.
The German police statement says that the soldier is being investigated for theft and assault.
Maj. John Ambelang, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment spokesman, told Stars and Stripes that the soldier could face a court-martial.
“[T]he soldier is no longer returning to the U.S. until the investigation and any follow-on administrative or legal actions are complete,” Ambelang said.