Follow-home night­mare

Rob­bers tar­get cou­ple com­ing from air­port

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - ILANIT CH­ER­NICK @Lanc_02

ACOU­PLE from the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo wouldn’t have known what awaited them as they boarded an Uber taxi shortly af­ter land­ing at OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port yes­ter­day.

Among their valu­ables in the white Toy­ota Corolla Quest as it made its way to their ho­tel in Morn­ing­side in Sand­ton were jew­ellery, cash, cell­phones and a suit­case filled with clothes.

Things turned nasty as soon as their taxi pulled up out­side their ho­tel and the cou­ple alighted.

Three armed men in a white BMW con­fronted them, de­mand­ing their goods.

The men in the BMW had been fol­low­ing the Corolla from the air­port, ac­cord­ing to Gaut­eng po­lice spokesper­son Cap­tain Mavela Ma­sondo.

“The guys (rob­bers) opened fire on them dur­ing the course of the rob­bery. There was a scuf­fle be­tween the rob­bers and the cou­ple. The cou­ple were al­legedly re­sist­ing hand­ing over their be­long­ings,” Ma­sondo said.

He said the cou­ple were wounded in the up­per body.

“Jew­ellery, cash, cell­phones and their suit­case with cloth­ing were taken from them,” said Ma­sondo, adding that the Uber taxi driver’s cell­phone was also stolen.

He said the in­ci­dent hap­pened at about 6am.

Yes­ter­day’s rob­bery was the lat­est in a string of in­ci­dents in­volv­ing peo­ple tar­geted by armed crim­i­nals and robbed while trav­el­ling from the air­port.

Ma­sondo said the wounded cou­ple were taken to hospi­tal and were re­ported to be in a se­ri­ous but sta­ble con­di­tion. The Uber driver es­caped un­harmed.

The three rob­bers fled in their get­away car, he said, adding that a hunt was un­der way for the gun­men.

A case of armed rob­bery and at­tempted mur­der has been opened.

In re­cent weeks, there has been a surge of at­tacks where peo­ple are fol­lowed from the air­port, with busi­ness­peo­ple, for­eign and lo­cal, be­ing the main tar­gets.

Sev­eral tourists, an Ethiopian busi­ness­man and South Africa’s Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion deputy com­mis­sioner Hardin Rat­shis­usu were some of the re­cent vic­tims.

Po­lice have vowed to in­crease their pres­ence on the N12 East and West af­ter sev­eral peo­ple were robbed on Satur­day night by crim­i­nals who had placed rocks on the road in a bid to ob­struct mo­torists and rob them of their goods.

In a What­sApp mes­sage, the lo­cal com­mu­nity polic­ing fo­rum (CPF) ex­plained that a Toy­ota trav­el­ling on the N12 East hit a rock just af­ter the Sam­fur Bridge.

“The Toy­ota’s right front tyre and rim were dam­aged af­ter it struck the rock.

“As the driver pulled over onto the side of the road, he was sur­rounded by about 20 men.

“The driver’s side win­dow was smashed by one of the at­tack­ers, who robbed the oc­cu­pants in the car of their cell­phones and wal­lets.

“The car’s ra­dio was also ripped out and stolen be­fore the group of thugs fled into a nearby in­for­mal set­tle­ment,” the CPF mes­sage said.

“The other ve­hi­cle, a late model VW Bee­tle trav­el­ling on the N12 West and head­ing to­wards Le­na­sia,

Oc­cu­pants of car fall prey to thugs who place rocks on high­way

hit a rock on the high­way just af­ter a pedes­trian bridge.”

The mes­sage said the Bee­tle’s left front tyre and rim were dam­aged, but luck­ily no­body ap­proached the oc­cu­pants.

The CPF urged mo­torists to re­duce speed and ex­er­cise cau­tion when trav­el­ling on the N12.

Ma­sondo said they would be mark­ing the area down as a hotspot for crime and em­pha­sised that po­lice would in­crease their vis­i­bil­ity in the area as well as de­ploy more mem­bers in a bid to stop such in­ci­dents.

“We are ap­peal­ing to driv­ers not to stop their cars and get out, es­pe­cially at night, even if their car has hit a rock planted by crim­i­nals.

“If you feel un­safe, don’t stop your car. Rather drive to safety be­fore get­ting out to check any dam­age, as this opens the door for crim­i­nals to act,” he warned.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.