Lifestyle & Human Interest

Brave Kids Fight Off Thief Who Stole SUV They Were Riding In


You’re on a late-night errand to pick up some food. Your tired kids are in the car, and you just need to pop in really quickly. Instead of hauling them all out of the car, you leave the car running and hop out yourself.

It’s a quick run. Your kids are old enough to mind themselves. The hassle of bringing them all along will probably take longer than the actual pick-up itself.

Should be harmless, right?

In most cases, it turns out OK. But when there’s a carjacker on the prowl, not so much.

Imama, 16, Hasnain, 9, and their younger sister, 5, were sleepily waiting in their dad’s Toyota Highlander in Chicago while he popped into Domino’s on Monday night.

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It was nearly midnight, and while the two younger kids were asleep in the back seat, Imama nodded off. A man got into the car, and as she looked up, expecting to see her father, she was surprised by an unfamiliar young man.

“The dude just hopped in, and he looks back, and I realize it’s not my dad,” Imama said, according to WBBM-TV.

“I started shouting at him, ‘Who are you? Get out of the car!’ and he starts driving really fast down the road,” she told WGN-TV.

The carjacker, whom Imama described as being “no more than 17 years old” to WGN, threatened her.

“He’s like, ‘Get out, or I’m going to shoot you,’ and he starts speeding down the road,” Imama explained. “He’s going in, like, a zig-zag pattern.”

While she said she didn’t see a weapon, there was a major reason she was unwilling to get out: her siblings.

“I was like, ‘I can’t. There’s a baby,'” she said.

Thankfully, her 9-year-old brother woke up and realized what was happening.

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“They woke up, and started helping me to harm him so he would get out of the car,” Imama said.

According to WGN, she began to choke the carjacker and Hasnain smacked him over the head with his iPad. They yelled at the would-be thief, and Imama spotted and reached for her dad’s phone that was sitting on the passenger’s seat.

“I see my dad’s phone,” she said. “I started calling 911. Thirty seconds into the call, the dude just jumps out.”

A Camry had been following the SUV as it was driven away from Domino’s, and it picked up the carjacker after he fled from the family’s car.

Police later found the Camry, which — surprise, surprise — had also been stolen.

Though the driver of the Camry got away, four others were arrested: Ralphy Enriquez, 22; Kaily Lagunas, 19; Steffy Lagunas, 19; and an unnamed 16-year-old boy. They were each charged with a misdemeanor count of criminal trespass to vehicle.

Though Imama said “it all feels like a dream,” the reality is that she and her siblings are quite brave, and because of their actions, they’re unharmed — and their family still has a car.

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