Everyday heroes: recovered car changes lives

2008-02-22 00:00

A COMMUNITY that is serious about fighting crime recovered a stolen car hidden in a nearby forest and returned it to its owner.

Sweetwaters residents found the car in a forest and kept it under 24-hour guard for a week, waiting for the criminals to return to try and reclaim the vehicle.

Councillor Babashane Ntuli said that the residents are fed up with crime in the area.

“We are up against all types of crime. This is a second car that people have recovered and reported to police.” He said the car was found last Monday and groups of people voluntarily took turns keeping guard in case anyone came back to strip the car.

“By the end of the week, I called the police and asked them to circulate the vehicle. They found the owner and he came to collect it.”

The owner of the car, Arda Hilgerman (81), was delighted when her car was returned to her.

Her son, Jerry Hilgerman, said the car was stolen from the garage in which it was parked.

“We thought it was gone and would never be recovered, but on Sunday we received a call from the police informing us that the car had been found.”

Hilgerman went to Sweetwaters for the first time and his opinion of the area and SA society changed.

“… It was my first time there, but I would advise more white people to go to black areas and see what the people are like. I found that people are as concerned about crime as everybody else.”

Hilgerman quickly responded to the kindness of the community. “He provided food for the people who were hungry after their long stay in the forest.

He made friends … ,” said Ntuli. “I found it encouraging and for me it was a sign that there is hope for the country, that there are many citizens who are serious about fighting crime.”

sandilez@witness.co.za

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