Police in ’Toti find hijacked truck

2012-06-18 00:00

USERS on the fast-growing Toti Crime facebook page have complimented Amanzimtoti police for recovering a stolen truck that was reportedly carrying computer equipment worth about R8 million.

The truck was hijacked early on Saturday at Amanzimtoti beach and later recovered in KwaMakuta. Police would not release details of the case.

The creator of the Toti Crime page, Paul Houston, said it was great to have some positive news about the cops.

“There are some police who are very dedicated to fighting crime, but get bashed with the general notion that the police are not doing their jobs.”

Houston, who is a former policeman, said he started the page as an awareness tool to alert his family and friends to the crime around them.

“The page just grew from there and now we have over 4 000 people on it.

“Toti residents are now sharing information and keeping the awareness of what is going on.

“According to local police stats the crime is actually down compared to last year. But this year people are more aware of it because they are sharing what they know.

“People have also become proactive and have started chat groups on cellphones and the neighbourhood watch, and more people are attending the community policing forum meetings,” Houston added.

In a crime with a bizarre twist last week, an accident victim was robbed by a wheelchair-bound man.

Sixteen-year-old Damian Hattingh crashed his scooter after he swerved to avoid a vehicle in Adamson Road. A man in a wheelchair approached him.

Damian’s mother, Vanessa Hattingh, said that the man got out his wheelchair picked up the teenager’s cellphone and wallet that had fallen out of his pockets during the accident.

“Fortunately there were kind Samaritans on that road as well. These people saw the man make off with Damian’s possessions and chased after him. They managed to recover everything and returned it to him.”

Hattingh added: “He is in a lot of pain. He has many broken bones. His hand, arm and collarbone were broken. It is going to take a few weeks for him to fully recover.”

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Dumisani Msomi said perceptions that patrols had decreased in ’Toti were incorrect.

“We have in fact increased our patrol operations and our vehicles are patrolling during the day, evenings and nights.”

“From Thursday to Monday our patrol operations run through for 24 hours,” he added.

Msomi said police had embarked on many crime prevention initiatives to curb the high crime rate. “We have started stop-and-search operations and roadblocks among other methods,” he said.

Toti Crime Stoppers founder Carol de Castro Neto, who was attacked in her home a few months ago said: “It’s very scary. Crime was always there, but not like this. Everyone is on high alert.”

The impact of crime in the area was highlighted on May 11 when Stephen Coetzee (23) was killed in his driveway during an attempted hijacking.

His father said: “My family is constantly living in fear. My two younger children actually have to take sleeping tablets at night.

“There are no words to describe how we feel and that feeling will never go away. They didn’t just invade our home they took my son’s life. I would not wish this on anyone, not even my worst enemy,” he said.

Coetzee said that in the days following his son’s death, many police vehicles were seen patrolling the area.

“Now it’s all just forgotten. No one has even been arrested for his murder.

“I want them caught, and not just for our sakes … we do not want another family to have to suffer the way we are now.”

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