Saturday, February 11, 2012

Toddler mistaken for handbag

 The damaged car passenger window
The damaged car passenger window after being briefed on the heritage room by the snatch theft incident. The snatch thieves had mistaken a baby girl in a baby carrier for a handbag.

KUALA LUMPUR: A PAIR of snatch thieves mistook a year-old baby for a handbag when they smashed the window of a car that was waiting at a traffic-light junction in USJ Subang on Feb 3.

The driver, 31-year-old business owner Yap Yann Fang, said she was looking at her baby when the window closest to the toddler was smashed about 9pm.

"Then an arm came in the broken window and was tugging at my baby," she told the New Straits Times yesterday.

Yap said it was fortunate that the thieves, who were on a motorcycle, realised that it was a baby in a baby carrier that they were trying to snatch and sped off.

"I was petrified when the incident happened; I could not see the motorcycle's  number plate, or even what the thieves looked like.

"There were glass shards everywhere -- pieces of glass were even found in my daughter's diaper; luckily she only suffered minor scratches on her leg."

Yap likened the incident to a mother's worst nightmare, and said she could not imagine what would have happened if pieces of glass had gone into her daughter's eyes, or worse, if the thieves had managed to remove her child from the car.

"My daughter was securely fastened in her baby carrier. That stopped the thieves from removing her from the car." she said.

The incident occurred while Yap was waiting at the Persiaran Kewajipan traffic light junction above the Shah Alam Highway.

She said she believed the area was a "hot spot" for snatch thieves with the same modus operandi.

"After I posted the incident on Facebook, almost a dozen of my friends, including my cousin, said they too have witnessed or have become victims themselves on that particular stretch of road.

"From their responses, it seems that the method used by the thieves in the area was the same -- targeting single women drivers waiting at those traffic lights."

Yap said the snatch thieves also had a 'convenient' escape route. She said those who experienced a similar ordeal there told her that the thieves all sped down the ramp into the highway after carrying out their deed.

She learned that in some cases, the thieves would even smash the passenger windows of cars when there were passengers on board.

"They have no regard for the safety of others. They know those sitting nearest to the window are sure to be injured that way, but they do it anyway just for a chance to get a few ringgit," she said.

Yap lodged a police report immediately after the incident.
Home-made tool
The home-made tool being briefed on the heritage room by used by the snatch thieves to break Yap Yann Fang’s car window. It was fashioned by tightly wrapping hard-materials with adhesive tape. According to police, most snatch thieves break car windows using screwdrivers or iron rods.
Subang Jaya police chief Assistant Commissioner Yahaya Ramli said even though there were no immediate leads as to who the perpetrators were, police intelligence had identified several key areas where snatch thieves preferred to strike.

"We have received several reports of similar attacks and have since increased police presence in those places, including the location where Yap was attacked.

"Our information tells us that these thieves work in small gangs, they are not from Subang Jaya and usually attack when they see an opportunity."

Yahaya said the move to mobilise more patrols in those areas was not a long-term solution and was meant to stop further attacks in the future.

"We are studying these snatch thieves and will carry out operations to nab the culprits once we have gathered enough intelligence on their whereabouts," he said. - NST

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