Teen helps collar phone thief

2009-02-28 00:00

Residents in the Pietermaritzburg city centre hunted down a group of thugs through thick traffic after they robbed a 14-year-old on his way to school on Thursday morning.

The teenager, Ruann Meyer, was passing through Braid Street on his way to Newton High when he was confronted by three men, one of whom produced a knife and demanded his cellphone.

“I asked him please not to rob me, but he pulled out a knife and put it to my neck,” said the schoolboy. “He … took my phone and walked away.”

Indranie Kistappa, who lives nearby, saw all of this and called for her son to help.

“They were hassling the young boy and then I saw them take his cellphone. I shouted for my son, then he and a few others from the area jumped into his car and chased these crooks.”

Her son, 26-year-old Kishen, said the thug and his accomplices ran through all the one-way streets so that they could not be followed by car, and he eventually had to chase the man on foot. “I caught him at St Anne’s Hospital and he tried to stab me there,” he said.

Kishen, his friends, Ruann and others held the thug until police arrived. His accomplices got away, however.

Police spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan said police found Ruann’s cellphone on the arrested man and handed it back to the schoolboy. They also found a knife.

The 21-year-old will appear in court shortly on charges of robbery.

Although happy about getting his phone back, Ruann was still quite shaken by the incident. “I’m still a little scared. Two of them are still out there,” he said.

Residents said Braid Street is a hotspot for criminal activity. Kishen told Weekend Witness that people are robbed there on a daily basis, and that he has to date handed over more than 20 people to the police.

He said criminals who operate in the area frequently attack nurses on their way to and from work, and break into houses regularly. “We’ve been broken into three times already,” he said.

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