Raleigh mall carjacking suspect is released from hospital, faces series of charges

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A carjacking at Triangle Town Center left two people injured after the suspect flipped the truck he’d stolen.

Michael Firrello said his wife, Heidi, remains in the hospital with three broken ribs. Police confirmed she was in the vehicle when it was stolen.

“I almost lost my wife,” Firrello said.

Two days after the carjacking and Firrello is still trying to wrap his mind around what happened.

“It went from Grand Theft Auto the videogame to Grand Theft Auto real life,” he said.

Talon Custer (Raleigh/Wake CCBI)

On Saturday afternoon, Michael and Heidi, were at Triangle Town Center to do some shopping. He said Macy’s was having a big sale on linens. A cashier helped them bring their bags out.

Firrello said his wife brought the truck around and was grabbing a few bags when the suspect ran up and jumped in. Heidi Firrello was in the passenger seat.

“I said, ‘Oh no, this is not going to happen.’ I stepped in front of the bumper,” Michael Firrello said. “He proceeded to put the car in gear, turning the knob, and he struggled. And at that instant, that millisecond, something came over me, and I said, ‘move.'”

That suspect, later identified by police as 33-year-old Talon Custer, floored it, crashing the brand new truck nearby.

“Somebody tried to steal a car. We’re at Triangle Town Center by Macy’s, by Macy’s. There’s a car flipped over,” a 911 caller said.

Raleigh police said three people called 911. Firrello said his cell phone was in the truck.

Both Custer and Heidi Firrello were trapped inside.

“Thank God those linens were in front of my wife. They were a buffer. When the vehicle hit, she hit the linens instead of flying through the windshield,” Michael Firrello said.

He said he’s grateful — first that his wife will be OK. And second, that so many people stopped to help.

Custer, who lives in Goldsboro, was arrested after being released from the hospital on Tuesday.

He was charged with:

  • Assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill
  • Second-degree kidnapping
  • Common law robbery
  • Identity theft (Wayne County charge)
  • Attempt to obtain property by false pretense (Wayne County charge)

He is slated to go before a magistrate Tuesday afternoon.

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