Family in financial turmoil after police rammed their car in a violent car theft in Tweed Heads

By Jade Hobman for Daily Mail Australia 07:05 07 Jun 2023, updated 07:08 07 Jun 2023

Couple loses car after violent arrest of car thief in Tweed Heads. Cops rammed Hugh and Alex Garnar’s Hyundai last year. The police prevented car thieves from escaping, but caused their car to be totaled. They had no vehicle to take their sick son to the hospital

A family’s life was turned upside down after police rammed their car during a violent auto theft. As a result, they were in financial distress and could not take their seriously ill son to the hospital.

Hugh and Alex Garnar’s white Hyundai Tucson was ambushed in a car park in Tweed Heads, New South Wales – just 8km from the Queensland border – in February last year.

The vehicle was then disabled when Queensland Police, in a desperate manhunt, rammed the vehicle to stop the fleeing car thieves.

The couple’s nightmare began when Mr Garnar was leaving the gym and a grocery store in Tweed Mall on February 18 last year when he saw a police helicopter fly overhead.

Convicted car thieves Georgia Eve Masterson and Jonathan Michael Egan have been pursued by helicopter after a series of armed robberies in Queensland and New South Wales.

Hugh and Alex Garnar’s white Hyundai Tucson was ambushed preventing them from taking their son to his much-needed doctor’s appointments (pictured the couple). The thugs, who wielded a knife and gun, climbed into the Garnar’s car – but police rammed into the vehicle to stop the couple as they fled (pictured the car in disrepair after the car was stolen)

Mr Garnar was confronted by Egan in the shopping center car park.

“I looked down; A man wearing a mask and gloves came up to me and tried to stab me with a knife,” he told A Current Affair.

He said he then froze before running away after his adrenaline spikes kicked in.

The thugs, who wielded a knife and gun, climbed into his car – but police rammed the vehicle to stop the couple from escaping.

“I knew it was a task force because they went out in vests and big guns, and it was pretty scary,” Garnar said.

The desperate father called his wife, who then rushed to his side.

“That call was just my husband screaming on the other end of the line, it was really, really confronting and then I saw my car – the only way to get our son to the hospital – was just gone,” Ms Garnar said restrained tears.

Their son Mason suffers from a life-threatening immune disease and with the couple’s car destroyed there was no way of getting him to his chemotherapy treatment at Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane.

The boy even became very ill the day after the horrific car theft – his parents had to wait 45 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.

Ms Garnar said she watched her son “pass out in my arms” and regretted not having the car as she could have taken him to hospital much sooner.

The couple did not have car insurance at the time due to reduced household expenses and have been struggling financially since the incident.

The couple said Queensland Police at the Tweed Heads crime scene assured them they would get their car back.

Ms Garnar said officers told them not to worry as police insurance would cover repairing the damage to the car.

But 16 months later, they still don’t have it.

Since then, they’ve been forced to borrow friends’ cars to get Mason’s urgent medical treatment — before withdrawing money from their retirement savings to buy a new vehicle.

The ordeal left the couple financially and emotionally devastated, and Ms Garnar admitted she wasn’t sure the family would recover.

And she added that the whole incident should never have happened because one of the perpetrators was released on bail.

She said if the justice system had done its job, the car theft would never have happened.

The perpetrators Egan and Masterson had been on a crime spree around the South East before police caught up with them in Tweed Heads.

They were arrested at the scene after the Garnar’s car was hit when police tried to stop their escape.

Both had long criminal records and pleaded guilty to their recent crimes, with Egan sentenced to seven years in prison with four years without parole.

Masterson was sentenced to six years in prison, with three years without parole.

Queensland Police told Daily Mail Australia they had offered to cover the cost of repairing the vehicle.

“The victim was informed of this offer,” said a QPS spokeswoman.

Convicted felons Georgia Eve Masterson and Jonathan Michael Egan were arrested at the scene (pictured) after Garnar’s car was crashed into. The couple’s nightmare began when Mr Garnar left the gym and grocery store in Tweed Mall (pictured) in February last year

“The QPS has paid the towing costs and is awaiting repair estimates from the victim, which will be processed upon receipt.”

It comes as some Queenslanders are pulling out all the stops to combat the state’s recent crime spate.

Earlier last month, locals in Mackay, central Queensland, threatened to take the law into their own hands after they claimed police had failed to crack down on suspected criminals in the town.

Anonymous signs have been posted around Mackay on the state’s far north shore, warning of the curfew for vigilantes – and urging local fathers to join them to monitor the “unpunished” crimes.

The number of illegal entry offenses has more than doubled from last year, with 108 incidents in the region between January and April this year, compared to just 50 a year earlier.