A father and his 18-year-old son were held hostage by armed robbers during a terrifying 11-hour tiger kidnapping, it emerged on Friday night.
Their ordeal only came to an end when the teenager managed to escape his kidnappers after his father was made to go to work and money was handed over from a cash-in-transit van.
Detectives from the PSNI’s serious crime branch launched a manhunt on Friday for the kidnappers and are trying to determine the movements of a grey Renault Laguna used by the gang.
The 52-year-old father and his son were in their home in the Bexley area of Bangor on Thursday evening when three masked and armed men forced their way in at around 10.15pm and threatened them.
At around 4am, the 18-year-old man was then taken from his home in the family Laguna, registration GJZ 9090. The plates of the Laguna were then changed to false ones with the registration number RJZ 6968.
The terrified teenager was taken to a house in the Beechmount Parade area of west Belfast where he was kept, until he managed to escape and raise the alarm at around 9.30am on Friday.
Police said that two hours before his escape, at around 7am, a sum of money was passed to the occupant of the Renault Laguna at a filling station in the Ravenhill Road area of south Belfast.
According to the PSNI, a cash-in-transit vehicle was in the forecourt at the time.
Police said that the Laguna was then observed in the College Square North area of the city before it was found abandoned in the Ainsworth Avenue area of west Belfast. PSNI Detective Inspector Chris Wilson said this was a “horrific ordeal” for the father, his son and wider family circle.
“It was a planned and organised crime. We are particularly keen to speak to anyone who was in the College Square North or Ainsworth Avenue areas on Friday morning and saw the Renault Laguna or anyone acting suspiciously.
“We need the community to come forward and speak to the investigation team so that those responsible can be brought before the courts,” Mr Wilson added.
Mayor of Bangor Wesley Irvine said it was a “distressing ordeal” for the family. “You wouldn’t wish this on anyone. This gang must be caught before they terrorise anyone else. Anyone with information must contact the police,” he said.