Furniture delivery crews to get couriers in Umlazi

2008-12-19 00:00

Drivers delivering furniture in Umlazi will be escorted to their destinations under armed guard — a move that SAPS spokeswoman Danelia Veldhuizen said is aimed at curbing the increase in truck hijackings in the area over Christmas.

She said there is a marked increase in hijackings of furniture trucks in November and December, when residents spend their annual bonuses.

Furniture trucks are targeted by between three and five armed men who instruct drivers to hand over the keys. “They then drive off with the truck and the furniture. The suspects are always armed,” she said.

On November 26, a crew delivering furniture to an address in F-section Umlazi was told to hand over the vehicle and R10 000 worth of furniture to four armed men. On December 5, a truck delivering furniture to H Section was hijacked by a suspect with a gun. He was joined by four others and they made off with furniture worth more than R10 000.

Last Saturday, a driver and crew delivering furniture to F Section were also accosted. “On their arrival, they found that there was no one home.

“While making inquiries with the neighbours, they were approached by five armed men who demanded the keys.

“When the driver refused to give them the keys, one of the suspects fired a shot into the air.”

Veldhuizen said they eventually sped off with this vehicle and its contents.

She said a joint initiative between Umlazi police and the Durban Chamber of Commerce saw the number of furniture truck hijackings fall at the end of 2007. It was hoped that the same would apply this year.

“We are once again appealing to all truck drivers to report to the Community Service Centre at SAPS Umlazi from where they will be escorted by armed police officers to the relevant addresses,” she said.

Veldhuizen said it is too early to tell whether the overall incidence of furniture truck hijackings had increased this year.

She said she could not disclose the total number of furniture truck hijackings in the area during 2007 or 2008.

According to crime statistics released earlier this year, overall truck hijackings increased by just under 40% during the period April 2007 to March 2008.

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