Police in appeal over Belfast hijacking after knife held to face of driver
Police are searching for a hijacker who dragged a driver from a car and held a knife to his face as he slowed down while approaching a speed bump in west Belfast.
The male victim, aged in his 40s, has been left traumatised following the shocking incident, which happened on Osman Street on Thursday night.
The driver of a grey Seat Altea was approached at around 10.25pm, however, he managed to escape with the keys and run off.
But a physical fight ensued when the hijacker caught up with him.
Detective Inspector Kerry Brennan said: "The assailant has then produced a knife and held it up to the driver's face.
"At this stage the victim handed over the keys and the vehicle is then stolen."
DUP councillor Brian Kingston said the incident will terrify local residents, who will be locking their car doors.
"This is really shocking," he said.
"It seems at this point to be a totally random and brutal hijacking.
"It must have been a very traumatic experience for the driver and I hope he recovers from this nightmare experience."
Police have described the suspect as being 5ft 9in or 5ft 10in tall and of heavy build. He was wearing a brown coat, which covered his face during the incident.
The driver escaped uninjured, but police said he has been left shaken by the ordeal.
Mr Kingston said he is not aware of any other hijackings in the area.
"I have heard of people having items stolen from their car as they approach speed ramps and I have heard of cars being stolen from garage forecourts," he added.
"However, I have not heard about anything like this happening.
"Thankfully, it's very rare."
The former Lord Mayor branded the person responsible as a "thug" as he called on the local community to help bring the perpetrator to justice.
"I would urge anyone with information to come forward to an elected representative or directly to the police," he added.
"This thug - that's what he is - needs taken off the streets and put before the courts.
"Anyone with information to help that happen should not keep it to themselves."
Detectives have appealed for anyone who was in the area at the time of the attempted hijacking or anyone who may have video footage to contact detectives on 101.
Information can also be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.