Robbed soccer team tracks down culprits with help from Google, police

2015-09-16 13:45
The two police officers who helped track down the suspects. (Photo supplied by Damian Ristovic)

The two police officers who helped track down the suspects. (Photo supplied by Damian Ristovic)

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Johannesburg - A Bryanston soccer team was robbed during a training session on Monday evening - but with help from the police and Google the culprits were quickly tracked down.

They got most of their goods back, except for some cash and their stolen soccer ball.

Now the Bryanston Warriors Football Club is setting up a friendly match with the Douglasdale police station to celebrate their success.

Coach, Dmitar Ristovic, told News24 on Wednesday the team were almost finished training at The Kings School fields at Bryanston Extension 8, Johannesburg on Monday night when their evening took a turn for the worse.

"At 20:10... two guys jumped the school fence from the highway. Most of us didn't notice this because we were focusing on the ball," Ristovic said.

"Our captain told me to look behind my right shoulder and I saw two guys wearing black hoodies and tracksuit pants heading with intent towards our bags and possessions... a couple of metres from us."

Gunshot fired

Ristovic started walking towards the men but when he heard his captain shouting "Guys move away!" he stopped.

"I saw one of them pull his hoodie over his head, whip out a gun and cock it, a haunting image that I doubt I will forget anytime soon."

He turned and began shouting at the team to move away and one of the men fired a shot into the ground. The men then stole their bags, clothes, wallets, car keys, a soccer ball and a soon-to-be-retrenched player's rent money.

"They just walked away casually and jumped the fence to the highway," Ristovic said.

"The police and security came on the scene just before 20:30. We had two phones which were missed by the robbers. We had lost hope of recovering our possessions and the robbers being caught."

However, one of the team called his stolen phone and discovered the robbers had not turned it or any of the other phones off.

Team member Jason Vicente realised his phone could be tracked through Googling "Find my phone".

"So [team member] Brett Jones accompanied the police officers, tracking them via his phone and after a quick chase they caught the robbers at an Engen garage in a taxi," Ristovic said.

"We are blessed that we all came out with our health. Belongings are replaceable but people are not."

Friendly match

The police arrested the men by 21:00.

Ristovic said the police response was terrific, with most of the players getting their belongings back, barring some cash, clothes, and drivers' licences.

"Constable Ndlovu and Constable Sepeng of the Douglasdale police station deserve a lot of credit for their great and speedy work, being the first on the scene and so quick to catch the armed men," Ristovic said.

As a thank you, Ristovic's team will pay a friendly against the police station's team, with the police apparently first in their league.

"We are indebted to them, and it’s really comforting to know that there are good people out there trying to keep the public safe," Ristovic said.

"But I'm still sour about the soccer ball."

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  good news

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