Police say a kidnapping in South Carolina was thwarted because the would-be abductor couldn't operate the manual gears in the victim's car.

The Sumter County sheriff's office said in a news release that 27-year-old Demetri Nelson still had his victim's keys in his pocket when he was arrested on 14 April, several hours after the kidnapping attempt.

Deputies say Nelson broke into a 53-year-old woman's home and demanded money, then told the woman to get into the trunk of her car, which he planned to drive to another house.

But authorities say Nelson couldn't drive the car because of the manual transmission, and the woman used the emergency boot latch to escape.

Deputies found Nelson and charged him with kidnapping and armed robbery. It wasn't known if he had an attorney.