A retired church minister had just played a round of golf and was trying to leave the course in Melbourne when a dark SUV blocked his path.
John Evans, who was a Uniting Church minister for 35 years, tooted the horn of his Suburu Impreza but the dark vehicle didn’t move.
Then a man in what looked like a police uniform stepped out of the SUV and “aggressively” approached Evans, wielding what appeared to be a gun.
The uniformed man opened the door and pointed the ‘gun’ at Evans’ face and dragged him from his car.
But the reverend had an inkling the gun wasn’t real, and a struggle took place outside Royal Park Golf Club in Parkville on Monday morning.
“There was no sense of metal about the barrel of the gun that he was holding to my face,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
“And I thought, it’s not a gun. I wasn’t fearful he was going to shoot me.”
The fake gun was flung away in the struggle but the attacker hopped into Evans’ car and drove away, followed by an accomplice in the SUV.
Police are searching for the 2019 model Suburu Impreza with the license plate 100-1DS, and those responsible for stealing it.
The imitation handgun was found in the gutter but police urged others never to assume a weapon was fake.
“It’s obviously very serious whether it looks fake or if it’s real or not,” Detective Senior Constable Anthony Murphy said.
The detective said it was too early to tell if it was a planned theft or an opportunistic incident.
But Evans has his theory.
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“I strangely didn’t think this was about attacking me. It’s about him desperately wanting that car,” Evans said.
People who were in the area at the time – about 8am on Monday – have been urged to check dashcam footage.
Police have released a photo of the stolen car and computer-generated image of a man they wish to speak to.
He is of southern European appearance with tanned skin, aged in his early 20s and wearing a black baseball cap.
Anyone who sees the car or has information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.