An electrician who was dragged 100 yards along a road behind the van he was working on as it was stolen says he is lucky to be alive.
Irvin Shorte described how sparks flew from his steel toe-capped boots as he was helplessly pulled by his arm when a thief jumped into the vehicle and sped off.
Mr Shorte, 50, who runs his own auto-electricals business, was back at work yesterday – just a week after he suffered injuries including internal bleeding in the incident.
The father of three, from Morley, said: “I’m not the type of guy who’s easily frightened, but this was something else.
“When they catch him, they need to bring the law down on him heavily. He could have killed me, he could have killed someone else. He had no regard for anyone’s safety.”
Mr Shorte was fitting a sat-nav and blue tooth technology on a Renault Trafic van in Millshaw Park Avenue, Cottingley, when the incident happened at 12.20pm last Monday.
He had the keys in the ignition while he carried out checks when a thief got into the driver’s seat and set off at speed.
Mr Shorte, whose wrist was entangled in some wires in the doors, was dragged off his feet.
“I was shouting at him to stop, but he showed no sign of slowing down,” he said. “I was facing the wrong way and all the stuff was flying out of the back and bouncing along the road as I was trying to get my balance.
“I had some new steel toe-capped boots on and sparks were flying off them. They were completely worn down by the end of it.
“He flew round a corner and the door slammed shut and jerked my hand free. I hit the other door and then spun off onto the kerb.”
Mr Shorte spent eight hours in hospital with cuts and bruises and internal bleeding. The van – which was fitted with a tracking device – was later found abandoned in nearby Marchant Way.
He said he was still sore but could not afford to take time off work. “When you’re self-employed, especially with Christmas coming up, you don’t really have any option,” he said.
In a separate incident on the same day, a white Mercedes Sprinter van, registration YK59 JDO, was stolen from Carlisle Road in Leeds city centre after the keys were left in the ignition.
Anyone with information should call PC Deborah Box on 0113 2414704.