A Calgary father says he’s traumatized after a man attempted to steal his vehicle while his two children were still in the backseat.
Jonathan Bandialan was picking up dinner from a restaurant along Memorial Drive N.E. Wednesday when his dash-cam captured the terrifying scene.
Bandialan’s 16-year-old son Jezthene and two-year-old daughter were waiting in the warm vehicle when the video shows a man appear in front of the van. He circles back a few times, looking inside, before he can be heard entering the vehicle’s front seat.
A short exchange with Jezthene ensues, where the man orders the teen to leave the vehicle.
“I’m taking the van,” he can be heard saying, “Get out.”
“I wanted to fight, but he’s tall and I (was) so scared,” Jezthene told CTV News.
But his father says Jezthene’s quick thinking saved the day.
The teen was able to stall the man, saying he needed to help his sister out of the van and grab his belongings before leaving.
That’s when he says he phoned his dad, who was just metres away in the restaurant.
“He told me, in Filipino words, ‘Dad, hurry up,'” Bandialan said. “And so I ran out. He opened the door already so I could easily get in.”
The van’s back door was thrown open, and on the footage, Jonathan can be heard entering the moving vehicle as the man pulls out of the parking lot.
“I grabbed him right away and he tried to fight back,” Bandialan said. “He’s a big guy. Strong, too.”
But luckily for the family, the father is trained in martial arts. Using the back of the front seat as leverage, he was able to pin the man from the van’s middle seats.
“I got a chance to choke him, I used my strength and then I heard him speaking,” he said.
On the recording, just seconds after the struggle started, the man can be heard begging to be let free. As Bandialan’s young daughter cried, Jezthene pulled the parking brake and the vehicle came to a stop.
Despite Bandialan’s best efforts, he says the man was able to escape and flee the scene.
The father briefly considered chasing the man again, but says he decided against it.
“I just wanted to get back my son, my daughter, you know,” Bandialan said. “I don’t think about my car, that’s a material thing.”
Police were phoned and an investigation is ongoing, but officers say no arrests have been made.
Anyone who may have more information about what happened is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers.
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