Bogus traffic cops foiled

2010-12-31 00:00

IN their fight against crime in the midlands, police arrested three bogus traffic officers who were allegedly using a fake traffic camera to stop motorists on the road in order to hijack them.

The suspects, aged between 20 and 35-years-old, were arrested in the White City area of Mooi River soon after they had hijacked a motorist, Mbongiseni Mhlongo (31) yesterday afternoon.

Mhlongo was driving his employer’s Toyota Dyna bakkie when the incident occurred on the R622 between Mooi River and Greytown, at about 4 pm. Police spokesperson warrant officer Joey Jeevan said Mhlongo was with a woman passenger in the bakkie when a man, who was standing on the side of the road with the portable “speed camera”, flagged him down.

“Mhlongo stopped approximately 20 metres from the man and in his rear-view mirror noticed something unusual about the camera and also saw a black Volkswagen Golf parked near the bushes on the side of the road. He became suspicious and immediately drove off,” said Jeevan.

Jeevan said the camera is made from two plastic bottles, joined with black tape. The stand consists of two long planks.

The “traffic officer” was also wearing a yellow reflective vest.

Jeevan said while the frightened Mhlongo was driving away he saw the VW approaching at a high speed from behind. She said that one of the occupants fired a gunshot at Mhlongo’s truck, which forced Mhlongo and his passenger to jump out and escape into the nearby bush. Then they heard the truck being driven away. Mhlongo reported the incident to police who drove past on the same road.

“Members from Rietvlei SAPS immediately circulated the vehicle’s details and informed surrounding stations including Mooi River of the stolen truck and the wanted Volkswagen Golf,” said Joey.

Police later found the truck abandoned along the same road, but Mhlongo found that the attackers had got away with R20 000, a key to the truck and personal items.

During the arrest, the men were found in possession of R5 000, the fake camera, keys to Mhlongo’s van, a reflective vest and four cellphones.

Police also linked them to strings of armed robberies in White City.

They will appear at the Greytown Magistrate’s Court shortly.

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