A worker on the construction site, Matt Whiting, witnessed the robbery from the footpath and tried to stop the thief from driving away by placing his hands on the bonnet of the ute. The thief then ran Mr Whiting down, almost knocking him into an adjacent phone box and tree, before speeding away from the scene.
“He just looked at me and mowed me down. He didn’t say a thing,” Mr Whiting told 9news.com.au.
“He just looked straight at me and went straight at me.”
The 28-year-old construction worker remains in the Royal Melbourne Hospital. He didn’t break any bones but is nursing a sore shoulder.
The owner of the vehicle, Nicholas Cashin from Momentum Traffic Control, arrived at the scene a short time later.
Mr Cashin had left the car switched on in order to illuminate the traffic signalling light at the back of the ute.
He said his biggest concern upon arrival was for his injured friend.
This morning the missing Ute was spotted by sharp-eyed observers in Melbourne’s outer east and recovered.
However police are yet to apprehend the driver, who has been described as Caucasian and aged in his 40s.