[imagesource: YOU Magazine / Supplied]
On September 13, one of the worst things that can happen to any parent happened to Alicia Lamprecht.
Her seven-month-old son Henco was taken after her VW Polo was hijacked in Observatory, Cape Town, with the hijackers fleeing from Bishop Street.
Henco was strapped into a seat in the car’s backseat, with Alicia telling YOU Magazine she was about to climb into the vehicle when she heard tyres screeching.
After struggling with a miscarriage in early 2020, Alicia says she took Henco everywhere with her, including a quick stop at a friend’s house:
“I started screaming, ‘My baby’s in the car, my baby’s in the car!’ ” Alicia (28) says. “It all happened so fast, neither my friend nor I saw who jumped into the car.”
What followed were three hours of hell for Alicia and her husband, Coenie (25), as members of the SAPS flying squad, K9 units and volunteers hunted the streets for their baby.
Alicia and Coenie are very fortunate that the car was fitted with a tracking device, so she could follow her car’s movements in real-time as the tracking company sprung into action.
Half an hour after the car was hijacked, the tracking app showed the car had stopped in Milnerton, and the ignition was turned off.
However, panic set in when Alicia arrived on the scene and Henco and his baby seat weren’t there:
“I just lost it,” Alicia says. “Bystanders came running and asking what was going on. I told them, ‘This is what my son looks like, here’s my number, please help me find my baby’.”
By then Coenie, the police and the car trackers had arrived. “The flying squad was racing up and down the streets looking for the baby,” Alicia says.
For a full three hours, parents and community members searched the area, before a report of someone carrying a car seat came in.
That someone was Emelda Ngudi, herself a mother, who had gone to the shops to buy bread and seen Henco on the pavement in the seat.
“I thought, ‘This baby is stolen or something.’ I unbuckled the car seat, picked him up and covered his head with his blanket. Then I asked the shop owner to call the police.
“The baby was crying but when I opened the blankie from around his face, he kicked his feet and looked at me and he was calm.”
Emelda took Henco home while she waited for the police to arrive, which they did shortly afterwards.
Not all heroes wear capes, and Emelda says she was just happy that she was “in the right place at the right time”.
When Alicia arrived at the property she wasted no time, hopping out of the car while it was still moving and grabbing Henco in her arms.
She says the family has been seeing a trauma counsellor to deal with the paranoia she now feels, which is understandable.
Henco, on the other hand, appears to be revelling in the extra attention from his parents and grandparents.
It appears as though no arrests have been made.
In response to the kidnapping, which shook up the Observatory community, News24 reports that residents held a meeting to discuss how to combat crime in the area.
Kimon Bisogno, resident and member of Observatory Civic Association, said the reintroduction of the Observatory Neighbourhood Watch was being considered.
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