Belfast Telegraph

Carjackers target three women in 15-minute morning rampage

BY ANNA MAGUIRE

Car hijackers have targeted three women within the space of just 15 minutes in a busy neighbourhood.

The mother-of-one had arrived at a doctor’s surgery when two men opened the door of her Ford Focus and pulled her from the vehicle.

The incident happened at 10.30am just off the city’s Woodstock Road.

“The guy just came up from behind the car and opened the door and tried to pull me out,” she told UTV. “I tried to stop him and kept my keys in but he trailed me out of the car.

“I didn’t know what to do. I panicked. I didn’t want to get out of the car but he kept forcing me and pulling at me, so I felt like I had no choice.”

Minutes earlier, the two men attempted to hijack another woman’s car on Jocelyn Avenue, which runs parallel to the Woodstock Road.

They made off on foot when two women came to the motorist’s aid.

The pair then tried to steal a handbag from a woman close to the Credit Union building on the Woodstock Road, but were thwarted by the woman’s relative.

Members of the public chased the gang, but they escaped in Ms Morton’s car.

She said she has no idea what she would have done if her young son had been in the car when the carjackers struck.

“I couldn’t believe it actually happened to me,” Ms Morton added. “I have seen it happen to other people.

“It’s just left me scared and really shaken up.” Her red Ford Focus car had still not been located last night.

“The woman sustained injuries to her head, neck and left arm and was taken to hospital for a check-up,” a police spokeswoman said.

The men are described as being in their 20s, with local accents. One of them was wearing a black top and the other man was wearing a grey tracksuit.

Police are hunting for two men and have appealed for anyone with information to contact them.

Background

More than 20 hijackings and attempted hijackings were reported across Belfast in the first two months of 2012, causing fear among drivers. The carjackers mainly targeted female drivers — including Assembly member Anna Lo — and led police to launch an operation to tackle violent car crime. Some 20 arrests were made from the second week of January until the end of February at the height of the problem in 2012. There were a handful of similar further hijackings last summer, and a further three in September.

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