SAN FRANCISCO -- A sightseeing trip took a wild turn for a group of tourists in San Francisco last week that left one victim hanging off the side of a speeding car as he tried to stop a brazen smash-and-grab burglary at Fort Mason.
Video of the incident has gone viral on social media.
Boston resident Dmitrii Koval said he was on the last leg of a West Coast tour with friends from the East Coast, Russia and Kazakhstan when burglars hit their vans, stealing $10,000 worth of cash, electronics and belongings. The crime happened last Wednesday during the one day he and the group were sightseeing in San Francisco.
Koval said he and his friend were actually standing right next to the white transit vans, when thieves smashed the windows and grabbed their backpacks containing money and passports. Gennadiy Kolesnichenko -- who is seen in the video wearing a white shirt -- was among the friends who tried to stop the burglars and get their property back.
"What I was trying to do in the beginning, I was trying not to let the driver, who was trying to get away to turn the wheel," he said. "I was just like hanging there until I realized he's just going to keep accelerating, if I'm not going to just jump now, it's going to be something really bad."
Kolesnichenko suffered injuries all over his body from the fall. Koval said one of their friends used his crutches to smash the windshield in an attempt to stop the getaway car. Another friend tumbled into the intersection at Marina Boulevard and Fillmore Street. He was hospitalized for several days and suffered serious injuries.
"I'm still shocked about this, I couldn't believe it can happen during the daytime in a tourist place, the most attractive place," Koval said. "I'm afraid to be in downtown, to go there, we need to go and pick up the passports, one of my friends told me 'oh no, I'm not going there.'"
Koval said he wanted to share his story to help make the city better and safer for everyone - especially the people who live here.
KPIX has reached out to US Park Police for a response. SFPD said they were not involved in the case.
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