June 20, 2007 / 4:22 PM / 12 years ago

Shiftless crooks clutch over stick..

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Two U.S. car thieves failed to make their getaway in a car they had just stolen because they couldn’t figure out how to use its manual transmission, a witness said on Wednesday.

The teenagers armed with a gun approached a man outside a pizza restaurant in Marietta, Georgia, late on Monday. They stole his wallet and the keys to his Honda Accord, got into the car but couldn’t make it start because it had stick shift, according to John Williamson, 18, a restaurant employee.

“The kid was just sitting in the car trying to start it but he had no idea what to do. He looked dumbfounded. The only thing he had going was the radio,” said Williamson who witnessed the scene.

While the thief was trying to start the car, restaurant employees called the police who arrived and caught the teenagers as they tried to escape into nearby woods.

Unlike many parts of the world, the majority of cars in the United States are automatic and many drivers are unused to driving “stick shift” vehicles, in which a clutch pedal must be depressed to change gear.

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