Kelowna resident Robert Polyak was expecting to help a carload of people he believed to be in need Tuesday morning, when he instead found himself on the receiving end of a serious beating and ultimately the victim of a car-jacking.
“It all happened really fast. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it,” he said, hours after the violent theft that took place on a residential road just before 6 a.m., May 20.
“I lost my car, all my ID, my daughter’s new laptop, the money in my wallet, money in my car… the tools in my car.”
Polyak’s 2009 Subaru was found by Mounties mid morning, burning on a forestry service road, and his head showed the result of the beating he suffered. There are 11 staples shaped in a crescent where the violent force caused his skin to split.
By his account, the incident came as a surprise after he stopped to help a three men and a woman who were standing beside their vehicle with the lights on and the hood up. He’d never seen them before, and noted they all looked like clean-cut people in need of a hand.
“I was coming northbound up Gordon Drive and I saw them just as I was passing Cameron. I turned around and I rolled up the window, and said, ‘do you need help? I have tools in the back of the car,'” he said.
“I pulled up my car, put it in neutral and pulled the emergency brake. I was just about to let go of my seatbelt and whack. I got whacked on the back of the head and went down.”
A few more hits to the head with what he believes to be a retractable metal baton followed, as did kicks from the three men who’d gathered around him.
Polyak said they uttered nothing as they delivered the beating, although he kept telling them that he wanted nothing to do with what was happening.
“I was just covering my head and trying to scurry away,” he said.
Then, he said, one of the men told another to get into his car. A woman and another man got into the car that was supposed to be broken down and they all drove away, in the direction of the mission.
He immediately called the police, and asked them to take him to the hospital.
There he had a bit of a revelation.
“I said to the police, ‘I’m never going to help anyone again,'” he said.
Then I realized, no, I’m not going to let this change me or change who I am. “
Polyak grew up in Merritt, and said that his small-town farm-boy ethic will continue to influence his desire to help others.
Mounties continue to investigate the case.
“It’s a strange event,” said Const. Kris Clark.
“We have a few pieces of the puzzle that we’re trying to fit together, but it’s really too early to say what actually occurred.”
Clark said they’re also investigating a mugging that happened just a block away from Polyak’s attack.
That incident occurred in the same area and involved a 20-year-old man who was walking on Gordon Drive was robbed and then stabbed. The victim was able to get to KGH and is expected to make a full recovery.