Dad and daughter catch burglars, record their dangerous chase

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(CNN) — A father and daughter weren’t going to just sit there when they discovered their home was being burglarized.

Kevin Smith, a plastic surgeon from Houston, was just arriving home from a business trip on Friday when he and his daughter saw a group of apparent thieves pulling out of their driveway in a red pickup.

His 22-year-old daughter, Alana, immediately worried over the whereabouts of her sister, who she left at home when she went to pick up her father from the airport.

They called her sister Kara’s cell phone while sitting in their car, but there was no answer. Fearing the worst, father and daughter took off in pursuit of the suspects’ truck — something authorities say you should never do.

“I locked eyes on them, and their eyes were terrified. I knew that they had done something terrible,” Alana said in an interview with CNN. “I didn’t know what happened to my sister, and I didn’t know if she was OK. My instinct was this was my only chance to get these guys.”

Smith recorded the chase on his cell phone while his daughter drove their car after the suspects.

But he captured more than just a speedy car chase down their neighborhood road. The driver of the pickup noticed the pair trailing behind, and put the truck into reverse, crashing into the father and daughter’s vehicle.

The suspects then threw their car into reverse again, smashing into the pair’s Audi A8 sedan a second time.

In the cell phone video, Alana can be heard asking her father, “Dad, now what do I do?” after the car turns off during one of the collisions. He tells her to turn the car back on.

“I wasn’t scared. I just wanted to catch them,” she said.

They chased the truck for several more miles until the suspects turned their vehicle around and aimed it right at the father and daughter.

“It was just like in the movies,” Kevin Smith said. “It was really eerie. At the end of this road, you see the truck turn around and you see the red truck popped out of the dust and head right turn towards us.”

The truck smashed into their Audi, sending the would-be robbers and the father and daughter into a nearby ditch. The father then called the police. Minutes later, authorities arrived on the scene, arresting two of the three men, who now are facing criminal charges.

The Houston Police Department did not provide additional information.

“I’m proud of my daughter,” Kevin Smith said. “As a father, you really don’t know how you raised your kid until they get older and you see how they can handle themselves. I don’t want her to be cavalier, but I want her to know I am proud.”

He believes the suspects may be responsible for a series of burglaries that have been plaguing his south Houston neighborhood.

“I’m tired of these people taking advantage of us. We’re not going to tolerate it anymore in our neighborhood,” he said.

As for Kara, the daughter who was left at home, she was at the gym during the incident and wasn’t able to answer her cellphone while she was working out.

Alana, who is going to law school in the fall, says the whole experience was unprecedented, but she feels blessed and fortunate that she and her sister are alright. “I needed to do this for my neighborhood and my family,” she said.

Smith suffered no injuries after the incident, and his daughter was released later from the hospital after being checked in for whiplash. Their car suffered front and back-end damage, and they were able to retrieve the television, laptops and a myriad of other possession that were stolen from their home.

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  • Cameron Mael

    Way to go Dad and daughter. I like your spirit. Dangerous? Oh yeah….but right was on your side. Great going and you have this man’s admiration. My son was murdered about 3 weeks ago. I wish I would have had the chance to help catch the bad guys who did it. So far…they have not been caught…and not much good news so far. but when I read about what you two did…I feel your conviction.

      • Cameron Mael

        Thank you for the friendly words. We are in such pain, and very sensitive now. My 27 year old son was Derek Mael, and was the kind of person we would all agree is the type our society and world needs. It was a great loss to not just us, but to our entire planet. You can Google his name and read about his tragic end. It was horrible. My wife and I, and our dear remaining 25 year old son wish so hard that there was someone who witnessed his killing. But even though it happened in an area of over 100 cameras…seemingly…the police can’t provide any hope they will catch who did it. It’s now been over 3 weeks, and no public descriptions…no police sketches…etc. It is a grime truth the police are so bogged down with crime, it is hard for them to catch many criminals. There are so many that get away with their crime. We only wish our son Derek was drawing some sort of priority, due to the extra horror surround his death, but it almost seems as if the police have already summed up his case as one they can’t solve. I am trying to stand by them, but I guess they feel there are other more pressing cases to solve than the death of our Derek. What a sad statement about the condition of our society when the police , due to financial issues or whatever, can’t put the kind of manpower on all cases they wish they could. As citizens…in this day and age…it is more important than ever…even at personal risk…if we witness crime…to assist the police in any way we can. They may not openly recommend you do so….but we all know they actually realize it would be of tremendous help if more citizens “would” act as this brave Father and Daughter did. I commend them. Thank you for caring.

    • Ben

      Mr. Mael: I can tell you are still in deep pain after losing your son. I remember reading what happened to him and I still feel your pain. Unfortunately, the pain doesn’t go away very fast and you will spend the rest of your life thinking about him. I never met him but I can bet that he would not want you to live the rest of your life in misery. I pray for you and hope you are able to overcome the tragedy as well as could be expected. Your son would want your family to move on to brighter days. You will always have those wonderful memories of the years you were together. God Bless you and your family.

  • wayne

    Very stupid. Clearly, these criminals did not care about harming the victims. They are lucky they were not carrying firearms. All of that stolen property could of been replaced, lives cannot.

    • Cameron Mael

      You seem to fail to realize that they did not chase the thieves simply because they felt they had been burglarized…there was the uncertainty of where her sister was. What if the man and his daughter had let the car simply escape as you cautiously would have..and then went in the home to find the sister dead? Huh? Then it would mean they let the killers simply leave, when they had a chance to be a pro-active citizen. I don’t fault you for being cautious…even to the point of being cowardly. weak, or timid…but don’t fault people for being brave also. You call it ”stupid”. But it seems very brave what they did to me. You should comment more kind to them, considering what they have been through. If I had my choice of how I feel a citizen should be like, I would chose them over you. I’m jus’ sayin’…

      • Faraday

        I agree Cameron. As someone stated earlier, police are reactive. This was an opportunity for the father and daughter. No doubt dangerous, but as you stated, the other daughter could have been in that truck. While it is dangerous, when more people start standing up to criminals, then perhaps they will think a little harder about simply walking all over regular citizens. They know jail time is limited in certain areas due to overcrowding, making the risk acceptable. We need to make it unacceptable.

  • Ben

    Why didn’t Dad call the police while they were initially chasing the burglars? What an idiot dad to tell his daughter to keep chasing them after being hit for the 2nd time and he apparently still hadn’t called police. The father should be arrested for putting his daughter’s life on the line. They could have caught the burglars by calling the police immediately and letting them handle the chase. If they had killed an innocent driver in a completely different vehicle, they wouldn’t have thought it was such a job well done.

  • Ben

    Glad the police caught the two thieves but now let’s hope and help the cops catch the guys who murdered Mr. Mael’s son. Somebody knows something and it is time to call the tips hotline and anonymously collect your reward. The Mael family deserves justice and if we don’t catch the bicycling idiots that murdered his son, they are likely to hurt or kill again.

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