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Have-a-go heroes stop Belfast thug hijacking car with children inside

By Ed Carty

Drivers have been warned to be vigilant after a car was stolen with two children still inside.

The youngsters were unharmed after bystanders stepped in to stop the carjacking.

The PSNI said one man was arrested after the incident on Boucher Crescent in Belfast on Saturday evening.

A woman exited the vehicle just before a man jumped into the driver's seat and drove off.

The PSNI said members of the public managed to stop the vehicle and the man fled on foot.

A man was arrested a short time later and officers appealed for witnesses.

Last night the PSNI confirmed that a 35-year-old man had been charged in connection with the incident.

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He faces charged of kidnapping, aggravated vehicle taking causing injury, common assault, driving when unfit through drink or drugs, failing to provide a specimen of breath for preliminary test, failing to provide specimen when driving unfit, no driving licence, and using a motor vehicle without insurance.

He is expected to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court this morning.

Belfast UUP councillor Jim Rodgers urged vigilance.

"What has happened is very serious. It's not the first occasion something similar has taken place," he said.

"Crime is on the increase - but to do this with two young children in a car is absolutely dreadful. We all have to become more vigilant; some individuals will stop at nothing in relation to stealing a vehicle."

The former Belfast Lord Mayor said that a parked car with children in it was a soft target.

"You wouldn't have to smash the window to get in, or break a lock," he said.

"But there's also a warning for drivers.

"We have to be exceptionally careful. Every time we leave a vehicle, we don't know who's watching.

"You generally find that a lot of cars are broken into shortly after the vehicle has been parked. It's not hours afterwards.

"There are always individuals who are observing very closely before they make their move

"They're opportunists. We have to become more observant, more vigilant.

"This crime must be totally condemned - and I know that all right-thinking people would feel the same as myself."

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