Mystery around theft of supercar in cargo heist

2014-10-21 00:00

A SPORTS car worth over R5 million — one of only a handful in the world — was stolen in a brazen cargo heist after arriving at Durban Harbour yesterday.

Mystery surrounds the theft of the McLaren 650S, while rumours swirled that it had been the purchase of a well-known Durban tycoon.

It is understood that the car had arrived without fanfare in Durban Harbour, and once cleared through customs had been placed in an unmarked container bound for Johannesburg yesterday.

Law enforcement agencies across the country started a nationwide search after the heavy goods truck carrying the McLaren was hijacked in the early hours of the morning in Warden near the KZN border with the Free State.

A police source said that the car had been ordered for a well-known Durban business tycoon, who had purchased the high-end racer through his company.

But the businessman denied this and insisted his company had not purchased the sports car. Imperial Logistics marketing executive Michelle Neilson confirmed that a truck was hijacked on the N3 between Warden and Villiers with a container containing laptops and a McLaren sports car. She said a case had been opened at Erasmia police station near Pretoria.

Asked whether an internal investigation or tracking division was now dealing with the theft, Neilson said this was being handled by the Imperial Investigations task team. “No further information can be disclosed at this stage due to the highly sensitive nature of the ongoing investigation,” Neilson said. The driver had been thrown out by his attackers at Hartebees­poort and was unharmed in the robbery.

This was verified by independent police sources in Durban and Johannesburg.

Daytona Motor Group CEO Justin Divaris said the car was bound for their showroom in Sandton. “The vehicle had come in through the port and was in a container. It is one of our demonstrator models that we used for test drives and for the press, and was not specifically on order for a customer, thank goodness,” he said.

Divaris said that he believed that the theft had been a mistake.

“I firmly believe that whoever stole the truck had no idea what they had taken. There is obviously no market for a car like that in SA and I think they were after other electronic goods.”

He also denied that the Durban business mogul had purchased the car, and said they looked forward to getting their car back.

• jeff.wicks@witness.co.za

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