Winnipeg man whose elderly father was in carjacked vehicle grateful he’s home safe

Click to play video: '“It’s despair, it’s desperation.” Carjacking victim talks about frightening experience' “It’s despair, it’s desperation.” Carjacking victim talks about frightening experience
Ernie Haak was about to help his father out of his SUV at Winnipeg's Health Sciences Centre when someone jumped into the driver's seat and took off - with his dad still in the passenger's seat. Haak tells Global's Joe Scarpelli about the experience as the city's police deal with a spate of carjackings – Apr 22, 2020
The son of a Winnipeg senior who was in the front seat of an SUV during a Monday morning carjacking says his father’s dementia is a blessing in disguise, as he doesn’t have much recollection of the terrifying incident.
Ernie Haak told 680 CJOB he was taking his dad, Hendrik, 88, to Health Sciences Centre for a procedure.
He stepped out of the vehicle and motioned for a security guard to help him get a wheelchair, when the suspect jumped in the car and took off.
Hendrik was still in the passenger seat.
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“When I saw the security guard looking past me and one of them yelled something, I turned to my right… as I looked behind me and looked at my vehicle, it was already starting to drive away,” said Haak.
“At first, it’s a (feeling) of urgency and anger to try and do something — once it left, it’s despair, it’s desperation.
“At that point, you’re just wondering what is going to happen next.”
A short distance later, at Notre Dame Avenue and Sherbrook Street, the suspect pushed Hendrik out of the car and drove off.
“Because he can’t walk without a walker, he fell to the pavement and got injured on his head and his knee. Paramedics at the scene were able to get there quickly. Some construction workers must have called 911 when they witnessed this.”
Hendrik was successfully treated for his head injury and managed to make his scheduled appointment on time. He’s now back at his personal care home but his son remains frustrated by the brazen daytime theft.
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“It could have definitely turned out much, much worse than it did,” he said.
“Something as simple as this, you would never expect to happen. You don’t expect for the 20 seconds you’re standing out of the vehicle, with someone else still in the vehicle — and we’re not taking a child or a pet or something like that here — that someone would actually take your vehicle away with that person still in the vehicle.”
“There’s no time, in my opinion now, that is safe to leave your car running. You exit your vehicle, you’re probably best off to shut it off, and maybe so if there’s someone in there, just lock it.”
Police eventually found the stolen SUV, abandoned in the Daniel McIntyre area, and continue to investigate.
Anyone with information is asked to call the major crimes unit at 204-986-6219 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).
On Wednesday, police said Winnipeggers need to be extra cautious during the COVID-19 outbreak because criminals may be taking advantage of the fact that there are far fewer people on the streets.
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“Practice situational awareness. Look around,” police said in a statement.

Click to play video: 'Police stats show carjackings are on the rise in Winnipeg' Police stats show carjackings are on the rise in Winnipeg
Police stats show carjackings are on the rise in Winnipeg – Nov 14, 2019

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