Hijacking and theft gang hit north coast

2010-05-08 00:00

A HIJACKING and theft syndicate on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast is targeting luxury vehicles that are believed to be destined for Mozambique.

Luxury models such as BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes and Jeeps are just some of the vehicles that have been taken in 80% of all hijackings and thefts in the past two weeks.

This is according to local security company Reaction Unit SA, which believes that a new syndicate is operating on the north coast targeting luxury vehicles, some of which have been valued in the millions.

In one incident, a BMW and a Mercedes-Benz were stolen during an armed robbery in Phoenix. The suspects also demanded the keys to a Toyota Fortuner.

In separate incidents, two BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes were hijacked in Riyadh and Brindhaven in Verulam.

A Jeep Grand Laredo was also hijacked by armed suspects and recovered by Reaction Unit SA on the second floor undercover parking area of Gateway shopping centre.

Reaction Unit SA director Prem Balaram said other vehicles that are also stolen on a daily basis include VW Polo Playas, the Toyota Tazz, Mazdas and Isuzu bakkies.

Balaram said that a suspect whom they had arrested told them that hijackers are paid between R3 000 and R8 000 for each Polo they supply.

Some of the vehicles, fitted with tracking devices, have been found near the Mozambican border, while others have been recovered in areas like KwaMashu township and Overport in Durban. “These suspects are only looking for high-powered, expensive vehicles. Some of these vehicles were hijacked on the day they were bought. They do not have numbers plates, which makes them difficult to track,” he said.

Balaram said victims told him that they were followed after filling up with petrol at garages.

“The suspects are from a well-organised syndicate. They know what vehicles they are looking for. They are also familiar with the vehicles as some are very difficult to drive,” he said.

Balaram said that the hijacking of vehicles at weddings and prayer events is also common. “The suspects ask the victim for their keys. They monitor who is driving the vehicle they want and approach them,” he said.

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