Al­leged thieves caught with tools of trade

Sunday Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - NABEELAH SHAIKH

THREE al­leged mem­bers of a no­to­ri­ous hi­jack­ing syn­di­cate were ar­rested last week with tools com­monly used to steal ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing com­puter boxes, Allen keys, plugs and ig­ni­tions.

The ar­rests came in the wake of two botched hi­jack­ings which claimed the lives of 9-year-old Sa­dia Sukhraj and Avoca fa­ther Kelly Chetty last week.

The sus­pects Khehla Mlan­geni, 25, Nduduzo Ntuli, 31, and Vu­mani Hlengwa, 32, ap­peared in the emanz­im­toti Mag­is­trate’s Court on Mon­day and were re­manded into cus­tody un­til to­mor­row.

Po­lice spokesper­son Lieu­tenant-colonel Zwane said the sus­pects were ar­rested af­ter the po­lice re­ceived a com­plaint of a sus­pi­cious-look­ing Toy­ota Etios driv­ing on Kingsway Road.

“On ar­rival, mem­bers no­ticed three men in­side the ve­hi­cle and in­ter­cepted it. The sus­pects at­tempted to flee, drove at a high

DEATH NOTICE

SNY­MAN – Norma Lil­lian passed away peace­fully on Satur­day, June 9.

She was a beloved mom, gran and sis­ter and will be sadly missed by her fam­ily and many friends. Fly with the an­gels and rest in peace, dear­est Norma. speed and hit a Ford Ban­tam. They lost con­trol of the ve­hi­cle and struck a ro­bot pole, aban­doned the ve­hi­cle and fled on foot. Po­lice gave chase and ap­pre­hended them,” said Zwane.

He said the Etios was seized as an ex­hibit.

A po­lice source who deals with hi­jack­ing cases said crim­i­nals were be­com­ing much smarter and were keep­ing up with the times, in terms of tech­nol­ogy.

“Most new ve­hi­cles do not have ig­ni­tions, they have com­puter boxes. This means that you do not need a key to start these cars but rather just have to press a but­ton be­cause they are com­puter-op­er­ated,” the source said.

He said hi­jack­ers were us­ing elec­tronic com­puter boxes to over­ride the ve­hi­cle’s sys­tem and gain ac­cess to the cars they steal.

“They dis­able the car’s ex­ist­ing sys­tem and then use their com­puter boxes to start the ve­hi­cle by over­rid­ing the orig­i­nal sys­tem,” said the po­lice source. also

How­ever, Zwane said po­lice were duty-bound not to dis­cuss in de­tail the modus operandi of crim­i­nals in pub­lic spa­ces as it ed­u­cates po­ten­tial crim­i­nals who may use this in­for­ma­tion.

Metro po­lice spokesper­son Par­boo Sew­per­sad said they worked hand-in-hand with the SAPS to ex­e­cute the ar­rests re­lated to ve­hi­cle theft and hi­jack­ing. He said re­cently the South Dur­ban area, and par­tic­u­larly umlazi, had be­come a hub for hi­jack­ers.

“It is be­com­ing dif­fi­cult to curb the prob­lem in this area be­cause we are notic­ing a trend where some res­i­dents are sup­port­ive of the hi­jack­ers.

“Panel beat­ers or chop shops in the area are get­ting busi­ness from the hi­jack­ers and are work­ing with them.”

He said the most com­mon ve­hi­cles hi­jacked or stolen and re­cov­ered in­cluded Toy­ota Etios and For­tuner mod­els, the Ford Ranger, Toy­ota pro­fes­sional trucks and the Kia 100 light de­liv­ery trucks. “Some of these ve­hi­cles are taken across the bor­der.”

Statistics for the last three months showed that 102 ve­hi­cles were hi­jacked with a to­tal value of R22.5 mil­lion. Four­teen sus­pects had been ar­rested.

Some of the gear seized from al­leged hi­jack­ers.

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