By Darren Lum
A young woman remains in shock after being robbed of her car at knife point outside a local grocery store last Monday evening in downtown Haliburton.
At 7 p.m. a Haliburton Foodland employee was sitting in her 2008 Ford Focus warming it up when a Haliburton County man 48 wearing a black bandana ordered her to get out of the vehicle and run.
She complied and ran back to the store. The man subsequently drove away but was arrested without incident by police in Bobcaygeon with another Haliburton County man 51.
Foodland owner Brad Park who has contacted the woman’s father since said the perpetrators don’t realize the pain they caused.
“I feel bad for her because I don’t think these guys realize what they did to her … as a young person … in their mind they probably just wanted her car” he said.
The woman has lived here for a few years and was off from college working shifts during her winter holidays. Park has given her as much time off as needed.
The two area men are charged with robbery with a weapon possession of property obtained by crime and theft of a motor vehicle. One of the men is also charged with possession of a prohibited weapon.
Although the men were not known by the victim her coworkers were familiar with them which has made it easier for the staff who would have found the incident more difficult to understand if it were completely unknown people Park said.
Park has since implemented a new practice for his staff when leaving work.
When possible he would like staff to go in pairs and if not then to at least have someone “watch and make sure they get in and leave.”
The store’s outdoor cameras recorded the incident that occurred close to the black fence by the neighbouring retail store. It was still difficult to see everything in the well lit parking lot because of the dark fence Park said.
Haliburton Highlands detachment OPP Const. Sean Hawley doesn’t remember any carjackings in his 19 year career here. He said what the woman did was the right thing in that situation.
“They make cars every day. We can always get another car” he said. “I might suggest … there is a reason why you should be locking your doors at all times.”
News of the carjacking spread on social media and by word of mouth throughout the county.
Hawley did not elaborate on the incident but did say the two “are known to us.”
When asked about the seven-year-old vehicle being an unlikely target of theft Hawley agreed.
“They were just obviously looking for transportation from here to somewhere. I don’t know other than that what their motivation was or what their final destination was” he said.