I became a victim of an attempted snatch theft at The Curve
This was how it began. It was around 11:15pm on Monday, 25th June and my girl friends and I just finished watching the animated film “Brave” at Cineleisure at The Curve. As we went down the escalator, one of them named Carol said “Jo, you should teman Dawn back to her car and she can drop you back.” I, being my usual stubborn self, waved them off, saying, “Aiyo no need lah, I’ll be fine, you guys carry on.” And when Carol insisted, it struck me that we were in The Curve (where many crimes have been happening lately), and I immediately agreed with her.
So Joanne and I walked through the sliding glass doors out of Cineleisure, down the steps and took a right where the fountain was. The aim was to cross the street and get back to Ikano Power Centre, where my car was parked. This alleyway that we had to walk past wasn’t dark and it hardly looked menacing. But it was deserted; there was not a soul in sight. Nevertheless, we thought nothing of it, as neither of us felt anything amiss. So we walked and I began checking my phone messages and replying to them one by one.
As we reached the grass area where the Volkswagen showroom was, a skinny guy that seemed to be in his early 20s, quietly sneaked up from behind us. He waited for the right moment to attack, the moment Joanne had her head turned away from me. He roughly grabbed the strap of my handbag that was on my right shoulder, almost snatching it away. I screamed on top of my lungs and yanked my handbag back in the nick of time.
The impact from his pull made me fall on my knees to the grass and my phone that I was fiddling with fell on the ground too, together with my handbag. I was still screaming and yelled “HOI!” to the guy, but he continued to run towards the edge of the little roundabout and joined his friend, who was waiting for him on a motorcycle. They quickly sped off towards the Kota Damansara area. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see their faces, nor the registration number on their motorcycle.
I got up and checked my belongings to see if all was in order. Joanne pulled me to the side, so that we can get away from that place, just in case those snatch thieves came back. None of the security guards at The Curve came to us, despite my screams. They were obviously nowhere near where the incident took place.
Even a middle-aged man who drove past the moment I fell, stopped at the side of the road to see if everything was okay, which was very nice of him. He looked at us curiously and I explained what happened. He said “Tu la, tadi saya nampak ada orang cuba ragut.” (Yes, earlier I saw someone trying to snatch something away”) And we told him to just be wary and mindful.
We walked next door to Royale Bintang Damansara Hotel and asked the security guard on duty, if there was a safe, indoor passageway that we could use to access the carpark at Ikano. He seemed to be a foreigner and had trouble speaking and understanding both English and Malay, pointing to the direction of Ikano. After three attempts of asking, we gave up and proceeded to cross the street.
As we crossed and headed towards the ramp down to the basement parking area, we saw three men suspiciously walking towards our direction and proceeded to also walk down the ramp, just in front of us. Joanne and I seemed to read each other’s minds when we said, “Yeah let’s forget this and go through the main entrance” and turned back, walking up to where the drop off area was, by the sliding glass doors.
At last, we saw a security guard who was sitting at the entrance of Ikano Power Centre, doing nothing. I proceeded to politely ask him if he would open a small door for us to enter to access the P2 carpark. He refused, stating gruffly that the mall is already closed, “Tak boleh buka pintu, semua sudah tutup. Kalau you mahu masuk parking, you kena turun ikut jalan kereta” (“We cannot open any of the doors, all are closed already. If you want to enter the parking area, you need to go down the ramp like how all the cars enter”), pointing directly to the ramps which we just walked away from.
Joanne and I made several more attempts before Joanne added, “Kalau encik tak nak buka pintu, tak apa. Boleh tak encik teman kita sampai ke kereta?” (“Sir, if you don’t want to open the doors, it’s okay. But can you at least walk us to our car?”) The security guard gave me a bored and disgruntled look, and it became clear to us that we were a nuisance to his otherwise very peaceful and serene night.
Then I finally said “Encik, mintak tolong, saya baru hampir kena ragut kat depan sana tadi. Please please please tolong kami.” (“Sir, please help us. I almost got robbed by a snatch thief and it happened right where you’re asking us to walk to. Please please please help us.”)
More disgruntled looks from the guard. He then slowly took out his walkie-talkie and started speaking in a foreign language to another guard, and then agreed to walk us to the carpark. As we walked down the ramp, he was trailing far behind us and we had to slow down several times so that he could keep up. We were walking at a normal pace.
After about 200 metres, he stopped and said, "Okay, you go now."
We stopped on our tracks and were like, "Huh?? Can you just follow us to my car??" and he said "You go", told us that there would be another security guard around the bend to walk us directly to my car. We thanked him and proceeded further down. When we reached the bend, to our disappointment, there was nobody there. Although the car park was brightly lit, there were no security guards in sight as what the guard promised and there were only 5 cars parked in the vast space, within our range of sight. I proceeded quickly into my car while Joanne paid the parking ticket a few yards away. We then sped off from there to make a police report.
I'm not hurt, nor was anything taken. And for that, I'm super blessed and I thank my lucky stars. My hands were very shaky, yet I willed myself to drive properly to the police station at Damansara Utama, where the officers were nice and helpful. Even when I was drawing the map to explain where I was, my hands kept shaking. But I’m glad that it only came to that.
Things could have been much worse. The snatch thief could have been armed. He could have covered my nose and mouth with chloroform, or used a tazer gun against me. There could have been two or three, or ten of them. They could have waited until we got to our cars and robbed us there. Or they could have easily brought more of their friends to come back for us, as we were still walking by the street, wasting our time talking to those so-called “security guards”. The possibilities are endless.
You would think that despite the recent series of unfortunate incidents in shopping malls throughout the Klang Valley that at least one mall would step up to launch a safety awareness campaign and to take steps to raise their security levels. Not one has been doing it.
Thanks to my friends; Carol Leong for insisting that Joanne Ho-Lee walks me back to my car and thanks to Joanne for being there with me throughout the entire ordeal and at the police station. Now I’m wary of leaving the house and as I drove home and saw families crossing the streets, I felt the urge of winding down my car window to tell them to be careful while they walk.
Thanks also to all my family members, close friends, acquaintances, colleagues, Twitter and Facebook friends and followers who have shown so much concern and care for my wellbeing. I will remember each and every one of the kind words on the phone, sms and sent online.