Calgary dad stops suspected car hijacking with kids in backseat

A Calgary father says he’s traumatized after a man tried to steal his vehicle while his two children were still in the backseat.

Jonathan Bandialan was having dinner at a restaurant along Memorial Drive NE on Wednesday when his dash cam captured the terrifying scene.

Bandialan’s 16-year-old son Jezthene and two-year-old daughter were waiting in the hot vehicle when the video shows a man appearing in front of the van. He circles back, looking inside, before he can be heard entering the front seat of the vehicle.

A brief exchange with Jezthene ensues, where the man orders the teenager to leave the vehicle.

“I’ll take the van”, you can hear him say: “Get out”.

“I wanted to fight, but he’s tall and I was so scared,” Jezthene told CTV News.

But her dad says Jezthene’s quick thinking saved the day.

The teenager managed to block the man, saying he had to help his sister get out of the van and collect her things before leaving.

It was then that he said he called his father, who was a few meters away in the restaurant.

“He said to me, in Filipino words, ‘Daddy, hurry up,’” Bandialan said. “And so I ran out. He already opened the door so that I could easily come in.”

The back door of the van flew open and in the footage, Jonathan can be heard entering the moving vehicle as the man exits the parking lot.

“I grabbed him right away and he tried to hit back,” Bandialan said. “He’s a big guy. Strong too.”

But luckily for the family, the father is trained in martial arts. Using the front seatback as a lever, he was able to immobilize the man in the middle seats of the pickup truck.

“I was lucky enough to suffocate him, I used my strength and then I heard him speak,” he said.

On the recording, just seconds after the start of the fight, the man can be heard begging to be released. As Bandialan’s young girl cried, Jezthene pulled the parking brake and the vehicle stopped.

Despite Bandialan’s best efforts, he says the man was able to escape and flee the scene.

The father briefly considered pursuing the man again, but says he decided not to.

“I just wanted to get my son back, my daughter, you know,” Bandialan said. “I don’t think about my car, it’s a material thing.”

Police have been called and an investigation is underway, but officers say no arrests have been made.

Anyone who might have more information about what happened is urged to contact the police or Crime Stoppers.

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