Jammer hero’s reward

2013-11-01 00:00

THREE years for a self-confessed remote jammer and a new windscreen for the man who caught him.

Yesterday was a rewarding day for Pieter­maritzburg’s Sugen Govender, whose quick thinking led to the arrest of a thief who had used a remote jamming device to gain entry to Peter Hallowes’s vehicle in Parklane Spar’s parking lot on September 4.

But in the process. the windscreen of his uninsured Honda Ballade was smashed.

Yesterday, the thief — Lucky Chiliza (23) of Hammarsdale — was jailed for three years by Pietermaritzburg magistrate Celumusa Zungu, and just hours later Parklane Spar owner Cameron MacKenzie offered to replace Govender’s smashed windscreen for him.

“He most definitely deserves a new windscreen. Please ask him to give me a call,” MacKenzie told The Witness yesterday evening.

The news was greeted with delight by Govender, who had been downcast earlier at the prospect of having to pay for the damage out of his own pocket.

“I am very grateful. Thank you so much,” he said last night.

Hallowes, whose Toyota Hilux was targeted, was out of the country and could not be reached for comment.

Govender, who was supposed to give evidence at Chiliza’s trial yesterday, was not called to testify in the case after all, because Chiliza admitted his guilt.

Speaking to The Witness at the magistrate’s court, Govender, who is employed as an administrative clerk, said he was happy that his actions resulted in the recovery of the stolen goods, and the thief going to jail.

However, at the time he was feeling upset because he was out of pocket financially as he had no insurance on his car, and had received a quotation of R8 474 to replace his shattered windscreen.

Govender said he had been driving along Chief Albert Luthuli Street en route home from work at about 5.45 pm on September 4 when he saw a man run across the road with security guards from Parklane Spar in hot pursuit.

“I know the guards [from Mehlo Mamba security] because I work in the area.

“So I turned my car down Greyling Street following the guy who was running away. When he realised I was behind him he dropped the stolen Garmin [GPS navigator] he had in his hands and carried on running.

“I stopped and the guard picked up the Garmin and then got into my car. I drove round the block and we cut the thief off.

“He had nowhere to go and he just ran straight into my car and fell elbow first, smashing my windscreen,” he said.

Govender said Chiliza was “shocked at being caught” but unhurt.

He said that his initial hopes that the security company might pay for his damaged windscreen were dashed when they told him they were not insured for such an eventuality.

MacKenzie said last night he was “delighted that justice has prevailed” in the case, and immediately offered to compensate Govender for the damage to his car.

He said Parklane Spar takes security “very seriously”.

They employ 10 full-time guards to protect their clients, and recently invested in the purchase of radio receivers that operate on the same frequency as remote jammers.

“When a remote jammer is used they make a helluva racket,” said MacKenzie.

He said the superstore has also put up banners to warn customers about the dangers of thieves using remote jamming devices.

Prosecutor Sharleen Haggard, emphasised the prevalence of theft by “remote jamming” and the outcry it has caused in the media when she asked the court yesterday to impose a sentence of direct imprisonment on Chiliza.

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