Two teenagers picked the worst possible time to begin their criminal career when they decided to drive a stolen van past a six-foot-four good Samaritan and an off-duty police officer.
In hilarious scenes, a Gold Coast entrepreneur managed to pin down the boys, aged 13 and 14, and detain them, with the help of a nearby man who happened to be an off-duty cop, until police arrived.
One of the boys allegedly cried out “my mum’s gonna kill me” as he waited to be slapped with handcuffs while the other boy dramatically begged for his life.
E-commerce boss Bradley Cowper was driving in the Gold Coast on Boxing Day when he noticed the van in front of him driving erratically, speeding as fast as 120 kilometres an hour and almost hitting a cyclist.
When Mr Cowper drew closer, he noticed those inside the white Hyundai iMax van wore Covid face masks and gloves and he realised the vehicle was likely stolen.
As a victim of car theft in the past, Mr Cowper didn’t want to stand idly by and he switched off his car and opened the door to the van.
One of the boys after his criminal career came to a sticky end. Picture: Bradley CowperBradley Cowper spotted the stolen car. Picture: Bradley Cowper/Facebook
“I went to try and grab him out, but [the driver] put it in reverse and I actually hurt my hand pretty bad,” Mr Cowper told the Gold Coast Bulletin.
“I was just lucky he didn’t run over my foot.”
But in a stroke of good luck — or unlucky for the budding young criminals — Mr Cowper happened across the pair of thieves again.
He spotted the vehicle stopped and damaged on the kerb a couple of minutes away from his first encounter.
But in a “weird” moment, the two boys just stood there with a “petrified” expression strewn across their face, and didn’t try to run away as he approached them.
“I’m six-foot-four and I was running towards [one] and his face was priceless, like he’d seen a ghost,” Mr Cowper said.
Bradley Cowper and another couple carried out this hilarious citizen’s arrest. Picture: Bradley Cowper
Mr Cowper called out to a nearby couple to help him detain both boys.
As they waited, one of the boys “started begging for his life” and also begged for Mr Cowper not to hurt him.
The other car thief apologised prolifically and also said, “My mum’s gonna kill me, this is the first time I’ve ever done anything illegal.”
With all the commotion going on, neighbours came to check out the scene of the crime and one of them turned out to be an off-duty police officer.
The boys have since been charged. Picture: Bradley Cowper
Eventually, police arrived and arrested the two boys.
A Queensland Police spokesperson told news.com.au both teenagers had been charged with unlawful use of a motor vehicle.
The van was believed to have been stolen on Thursday evening.
They will both face Southport Children’s Court at a later date.
News.com.au has contacted Mr Cowper for additional comment.