Mugged skateboarder (13) calls for CCTV at park

2010-05-06 00:00

A YOUNG skateboarder has made a passionate plea to city authorities and local crime watchdog Safe City to extend surveillance cameras to the city’s skate park.

Zachary Styles (13), who has been skateboarding at the skate park near Harry Gwala Stadium for years, was recently mugged there.

“We need to have a camera to monitor the activities at the skate park because there are lots of good kids who come here to skate and have fun. Others just come here to relax,” the Maritzburg College grade 8 pupil said. Zachary visited the park yesterday for the first time since the scary robbery on March 26.

He said he and two friends, Nicholas Cottle and Tiaan Steyn, were confronted by three men armed with broken bottles who robbed them of their valuables in broad daylight.

“One guy had a piece of broken bottle on my throat as he was forcing me to hand over my iPod.”

Zachary said the men were friendly when they approached them. He said they even asked them to demonstrate a few skating tricks.

“As I was busy showing them my tricks, I saw two of them pushing Tiaan around. I shouted at them to let go of him. One of them had already run away with Nicholas’s phone.”

He said a man grabbed him by his arm and placed the broken bottle on his throat.

“I told them that they were not going to get anything from us. I was basically fighting them back and I was very angry with them,” he said.

However, the man managed to rob him of his iPod.

He said that after the criminals had fled, they reported the matter to the Alexandra police station.

The skate park is part of the recreation area that includes the A.B. Jackson hockey fields, Alexandra Park, Harry Gwala Stadium and the Oval Cricket Stadium.

Most of the recreation facilities, such as a jungle gym and basketball court, have been vandalised.

Safe City has planned to spend R2 million installing nine CCTV cameras, which will monitor a large part of Alexandra Park and Harry Gwala Stadium.

“For now I’m not familiar with the area, but I presumed that the [skate] park will be covered by the cameras,” said Safe City co-founder Des Winship.

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