Hijack alert for city car dealers

2016-06-07 13:55

(Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Police have warned car dealerships in Pietermaritzburg to be on the lookout for a gang who hijack vehicles while pretending to be potential buyers.

This after two Pietermaritzburg outlets fell prey to the same method in the space of two weeks.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Mthokosizi Ngobese said the robbers pretended to be interested in making a purchase when the incidents occurred.

They stole a Land Rover Discovery 4 and a Hyundai Tucson.

“A salesperson would take them for a test drive, after [they left] behind a fake driver’s licence. Along the highway they would pick up two other suspects who they claim were related to them.

“They held the salesperson at gunpoint before abandoning them at the roadside and disappearing with vehicle.

“Dealerships need to be vigilant and verify driver’s licences,” Ngobese said.

A Nissan and a Hyundai dealership in Pietermaritzburg were targeted by the hijackers. It is believed that a man who masqueraded as an attorney approached the dealerships on the premise that he would make a purchase.

He would then set up an appointment to return for a test drive.

Nissan dealer principal Darryl Govender said the man looked “very presentable”. He approached the dealership on May 16 wanting to purchase a car and the hijacking took place on May 18.

The second hijacking at Hyundai took place on June 2.

“He wanted a Toyota Fortuner, but we could only offer him either an Amarok or Land Rover Discovery 4, to which he agreed,” Govender said. “After viewing the car that day, he said he did not have enough time for the test drive and said he would return the following day. He kept on postponing the appointment, claiming he had a busy schedule in court.

“On the third day, he called us stating that he was still busy but his brother was in town and he could test drive the Land Rover to Camperdown together with our salesman.

“We never picked up anything suspicious about him. I never imagined he would ever hijack anyone,” said Govender.

“Along the way to Camperdown he reduced speed and took out his gun. He picked up two other men along the way and abandoned our salesman outside Umbumbulu on the South Coast,” said Govender.

• thabang.mathebula@witness.co.za

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