Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Almost a snatch-theft victim

Barely half an hour ago two Chinese-looking men on a motorcycle tried to snatch my gold chain in broad daylight while I was filling up my car with petrol at the Shell station in Sea Park, Petaling Jaya.
There I was standing behind my car with my youngest son, seven, in the front passenger seat while the petrol was gushing into the tank. I noticed two men on a bike entering the station and moving past me quite slowly.
I thought they were looking for an empty pump to fill up. Then the motorcyclists made a U-turn, rode past me again at arm's length and just when I turned to look elsewhere, I saw a flurry of movement and I saw the pillion rider suddenly reaching out to grab something. I felt my gold chain snapping and I managed to catch it while it was falling.
The snatch thieves rode off as the pillion rider showed me his fist.
Everything took place so suddenly that I was unable to see the registration number plate (which is probably fake anyway) and the men wore crash helmets. I remembered them being burly and Chinese-looking.
Everything happened so quickly that the woman at the pump opposite me did not even know snatch thieves were at work just metres away from her. The man at another pump about five metres away did not even see anything.
Only a pump attendant, a nice Malay chap, saw the event and he walked up to me and asked what happened. He said he only saw the pillion rider suddenly reaching out to grab something. I showed him the snapped chain and jade crucifix that would have been the ill-gotten gains of the snatch thieves.

The snatch thieves did not get away with these.

He asked me if I had suffered any injury and I showed him my neck. He said he saw no wound, but when I reached home, I felt some pain and I think I suffered a slight scratch which I quickly treated with some antiseptic cream.
The snatch thief managed to escape with some of my skin.
But such things happen and life goes on....After filling up, I simply drove off. There was no point lodging a police report as it would just be another statistic.
My son was blissfully unaware of what had happened. Then again he is too young to understand such things - why men can do bad things, why we live in a fallen world, and why so many of use refuse to change our evil ways even when there is available for all a road to salvation.
Recently, a classmate e-mailed me YouTube clips of snatch thieves at work. In one of those footages, you can see a maid opening the gate for her employer who drove in and stopped at the porch. Before the man could alight and the maid could close the gate, several motorcyclists stopped and armed with parangs (machete) sprinted to the house, rammed into the gate flinging the poor maid several meters away and confronted the man who was still in his car.
After taking handphones and wallets from the man and whoever was in the house, they ran out, hopped onto motorcycles and zoomed off.
Everything took place in an instant. I doubt if any of the neighbours saw the incident which was captured by the CCTV in the house. I doubt if the victims would even recall how the robbers looked like or how many of them were involved.
In the other footage, you can see a car pulling up in front of a double-storey link house and some passengers alighting. Two men on a bike pass by slowly and they stop. the pillion rider gets off and runs towards the women who had alighted from the car, grabs a handbag and runs back to the bike, hops on it and they zoom off. The snatch thief takes all of maybe five seconds.
You can see that the victims are too stunned to do anything.
Sadly these are desperate times and there are lots of desperate people out there.

Points to remember: The next time you see two men on a bike hovering near you, be careful. Robberies can happen anywhere - outside your home or even at petrol stations at 11.20 in a bright, sunny morning. And don't wear a gold chain and a T-shirt because the round-neck exposes the chain. A collared shirt would make it more difficult for the snatch thieves to grab your chain.

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