Barbed wire used in hijacking

2017-08-02 13:45
Prishen Ramlatchman talks about his attempted hijacking ordeal. INSET LEFT: The wounds on Ramlatchman’s back after the suspects attacked him. INSET RIGHT: The deep cut on Linda Patrick’s left hand after she tried to fight off a smash and grab attacker.

Prishen Ramlatchman talks about his attempted hijacking ordeal. INSET LEFT: The wounds on Ramlatchman’s back after the suspects attacked him. INSET RIGHT: The deep cut on Linda Patrick’s left hand after she tried to fight off a smash and grab attacker. (Nokuthula Khanyile/Supplied )

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Three attacks on motorists in the city serve as a grim warning for other drivers in the city to remain vigilant at intersections, N3 ramps and when arriving at home.

Prishen Ramlatchman was almost hijacked on Monday when he was accosted by two men disguised as newspaper street vendors.

Ramlatchman was at the Royston Road and Manning Avenue intersection. “When I stopped at the robot, one of the two men asked if I wanted to buy The Witness.

“I said no, he then dropped the papers on the ground, shoved his hand through my window and tried to grab my car keys.”

Ramlatchman said the two men were wearing red Witness-branded coats and carrying blue bags with stashes of paper inside.

“I tried to wrestle with the first man but the other one also came to my window and pressed me down against the steering wheel.

“He scratched my back with a sharp object, which I later learned was barbed wire. He had barbed wire wrapped around his hand and scratched me with it on my back and hand so I could surrender.”

While the tussle for his car keys continued, another motorist stopped behind Ramlatchman.

“The motorist behind me realised what was happening and started hooting. He got out of his car and started screaming at the suspects and they left me and ran away.”

Ramlatchman said the two suspects then ran towards the factories on Ohrtmann Road.

In another incident, Linda Patrick, who was with her husband, fell victim to a smash and grab robbery on the N3 off-ramp on Dr Chota Motala Road last week.

Patrick had stopped at the red robot on the off-ramp when she heard what “sounded like an explosion”.

“I looked at my husband because I thought someone had smashed into our car. The violent smashing of the window at my side left us stunned.”

While Patrick and her husband tried to compose themselves she realised they had been victims of a smash and grab. “When it happened I didn’t even know the window was smashed. We were left dumfounded. All of a sudden I felt all the glass falling on me. The guy grabbed my handbag, which was on my lap, and fled.”

Patrick said she did not see the suspect’s face as it was covered with a hoody.

“When he snatched my bag, the glass cut me on my hand,” she said.

The suspect made off with Patrick’s handbag, which held her valuables, including a wallet, identity document and driver’s licence.

Mountain Rise police spokesperson Captain Gay Ebrahim said an attempted hijacking incident had been reported.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, another hijacking took place in Scottsville.

According to Alexandra police spokesperson Captain Kholeka Mhlongo, a VW Polo was hijacked on King Edward Avenue.

“The victim and her friend were hijacked at gunpoint when they arrived at their house.”

Mhlongo said a white VW Polo pulled up and two armed men jumped out of the vehicle and approached the two women. “The suspects threatened to shoot and kill them. They ordered the driver and the friend to get out of the vehicle and drove off.”

Mhlongo said a hijacking case is being investigated.

Stolen uniforms used in crimes

Media24 regional operations manager Lungile Ndlovu said they have been investigating cases where Witness street vendors’ uniforms have been stolen.

“I can confirm that the criminals targeting motorists are not our street vendors. They steal the uniforms and wear it while performing these crimes to attract unsuspecting motorists. We are still investigating to establish how they get the uniforms.”

Ndlovu said there are plans in place to change the current uniform for newspaper hawkers.

She urged anyone with information related to this incident and with queries to contact her office on 033 355 1107 or 031 512 2119.

How to spot The Witness newspaper street vendors?

The Witness newspaper street vendors wear red two-piece conti suit overalls or coats, both have white “The Witness” branding on them. Others wear red bibs with “Daily Sun”, “City Press” and “Sunday Sun” written on them.

These are all newspapers owned by Media24.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  hijackings

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