Woman shares carjack nightmare: ‘I can’t believe this is happening in Victoria’

Click to play video: 'B.C. woman still reeling from carjacking in downtown Victoria'
B.C. woman still reeling from carjacking in downtown Victoria
A man is facing a slew of charges after an alleged carjacking in downtown Victoria that ended with the vehicle smashed up and the suspect in custody. As Kylie Stanton reports, it was the suspect's second offence in as many days – Apr 23, 2024

A Victoria woman who was shoved to the ground by a man who stole her car and then crashed it says she’s still reeling from the encounter.

“The whole time I keep thinking I can’t believe this is happening in Victoria,” Asha Mackwana told Global News.

“I am definitely spiralling. Everything just happened so fast, and I was just so distraught with everything.”

Click to play video: 'Man shot in violent carjacking in Abbotsford B.C., suspects arrested in Coquitlam'
Man shot in violent carjacking in Abbotsford B.C., suspects arrested in Coquitlam

The terrifying ordeal began shortly before noon on Monday, while Mackwana had pulled over to take a photograph on Johnson Street in the city’s downtown core.

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“As I approached the back end of my vehicle I saw a guy, a normal-looking young guy approaching me,” she said.

“As soon as I knew it he whipped right past me and tried to open my driver’s side door … I was like, ‘What are you doing, get away from my car,’ and he just with one swipe pushed me to the ground,” she added.

“As soon as I got up he was gone with my car, with my belongings, everything gone.”

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Mackwana said people on the street rushed to her aid and she called 911.

According to Victoria police, the suspect smashed into another vehicle while driving through the intersection of Cedar Hill Road and Doncaster Drive in Saanich, hit another car while driving southbound, and eventually abandoned the vehicle at the intersection of Cook and Finlayson streets.

No one was seriously hurt in the collisions.

Click to play video: 'Taxi carjacking in New Westminster ends with police chase, takedown'
Taxi carjacking in New Westminster ends with police chase, takedown

The suspect then fled on foot and was arrested while trying to steal another nearby vehicle, police said.

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“Bystanders had heard a neighbour cry out for help and observed the suspect sitting in the driver’s seat of the neighbour’s vehicle,” police said in a media release.

“The bystanders removed Packer from the vehicle and held him until officers arrived.”

Mackwana said police picked her up and drove her to her car, which was seriously damaged.

“I get to the scene and my vehicle was completely smashed in and all the airbags were deployed,” she said.

She’s now dealing with ICBC, but believes the vehicle is a write-off.

Seth Packer has now been charged with two counts of robbery, one count of theft of a motor vehicle, one count of failing to stop at the scene of an accident, and one count of failing to comply with conditions.

Monday’s incident came just one day after he was arrested for trying to steal another vehicle in the 2900 block of Shelbourne Street while it was occupied and had to be physically removed by its owner, according to police.

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Promising athlete expelled after violent carjacking in Colwood

Investigators said he was charged with one count of attempted theft of a motor vehicle in that case and had been released with conditions.

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Mackwana said she’s been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, but that she no longer believes her city is safe.

She added that she hopes the suspect in her case gets the help he needs.

“He just looked so sad and helpless, and I just felt really bad for him … I feel like that was maybe his only option like he was just trying to get caught and go to jail. It’s so sad that this is happening in our community, and people like that do need help, like mental health is a huge thing, something needs to be done about this.”

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