Twitter to the rescue after hijack

2012-04-10 08:30

Johannesburg - A man who was hijacked but managed to send an SMS to raise the alarm, has escaped unscathed after Twitter users mobilised forces.

The Star
reported that the man was driving to Florida at about 21:00 on Saturday evening when two men hijacked him in his Golf. He was forced into the boot of his car and the men drove off with him.

Fortunately, he still had his cellphone on him and was able to SMS his girlfriend.

She then tweeted the car’s registration number and asked people to retweet.

Seven others retweeted the message and a friend sent it on to well-known traffic tweeter, PigSpotter.

PigSpotter’s more than 109 000 followers saw and sent on the message, which had now also reached security companies who were pooling resources to find his car.

Finally it was located through his active cellphone signal. The net was closing in.

The car then drove into a roadblock and the criminals ran off, abandoning the car. The owner of the car was found unharmed in his boot.

@PigSpotter later told The Star that the incident showed how effective a networking tool PigSpotter and Twitter was in general.

"This is not the first incident where someone has been rescued, or a vehicle has been retrieved as a direct result of tweeting me and it being RT'ed, and reaching the correct people at the exact moment.”

- Have you had a similar experience? Send us your story.

  • Kevin Nicklin - 2012-04-10 08:46

    Well done all you twits. :)

  • Gareth - 2012-04-10 08:47

    Give Pigspotter a Bells

      dumisiledee - 2012-04-10 10:23

      Make it a case but then again, he'll be too drunk to retweet lol we need him sober Gareth hahhaha

  • Rob - 2012-04-10 09:02

    Good stuff - wish the police would have such a number - so they can be tweeted, ?????? though is would they respond to a tweet

  • spencer.nel.stevens - 2012-04-10 09:08

    The good side of social networking :) Well done to all those involved!

  • Josie - 2012-04-10 09:08

    Has PigSpotter got an sms number (want to give it to my children too)??

      npretorius2 - 2012-04-10 12:27

      Does PigSpotter have a SMS number? I would to give it to my children.

  • werner.smidt - 2012-04-10 09:18

    So exciting! :D

  • Marion - 2012-04-10 09:23

    I'm glad he's safe. This should not have been so widely publicized. Reckon he was lucky. No doubt hijackers will, in future, ensure that their victim does not have a cellphone on him.

      Marion - 2012-04-10 09:27

      ... or her.

      nsda29 - 2012-04-10 09:34

      I partly Agree with you. At least now I know there's something called Pigspotter

      Marion - 2012-04-10 09:46

      @nsda29 - Pigspotter is mostly used to warn motorists about roadblocks etc., Glad they served a useful purpose in this instance.

      Jackie - 2012-04-10 10:20

      Pigspotter doesnt just report roadblocks & speed traps. He gives info on accidents and traffic jams and robots not working. Gets Outsurance pointsmen to where they are needed. He forwards name & shame incidents that followers send him. He sends out things like PIGs sleeping in cars, or over their cameras. He NEVER reports on roadblocks after hours so that drink drivers can avoid them. Speed trapping is not a useful form of policing. He also reports on PIGs taking bribes. And handles reports of drivers being threatened with jail etc. He serves the general public in a really good way. He has lots of contacts too like lawyers who can advise on issues. He keeps us up to date with AARTO & the eToll debacle. In short he is the best!!

      Connie - 2012-04-10 10:30

      Marion, clearly you do not follow Pigspotter on Twitter. His purpose is not "mostly used to warn motorists about roadblocks". In fact, he is instrumental in ensuring that people are aware of traffic jams, accidents, robots out of order, etc to help people plan their routes to work, meetings, etc. Yes, he will report on roadblocks if they are causing a back up in traffic. He also reports on stolen vehicles (and it clearly worked in this case!!) as well as JMPD bribery. One thing he does NOT do is report on roadblocks after hours to help drunkards escape/avoid them. That is not his aim!! He also makes people aware of their rights in terms of warrants, arrests, e-tolling, etc. And he does all of this without expecting anything in return and with a smile on his face. To me and many other motorists out there, he is a hero, a lifesaver and an outstanding citizen who stands up for what is right!!

  • jacqueseng - 2012-04-10 09:24

    Dont touch me on my TWEET

  • Pamela - 2012-04-10 09:30

    Our cops can't even read or write. What more with understanding the Twitter lingo. *so help our gvt*

      Azande - 2012-04-10 10:12

      is that meant to be a joke or a false assertion? If its a joke, can you repeat it, I might laugh this time.

  • Sonali - 2012-04-10 09:38

    Here is a link to one of the stories in which we helped recover a stolen BMW : . This is a crime photo album where we post photos of stolen items & criminals - so you can see that we do upset some criminals.

  • Kagiso Tlhakung - 2012-04-10 09:47

    imma follow this guy

  • leesmit1 - 2012-04-10 09:59

    My mom's car was stolen in Florida on Thursday evening, from inside church grounds. I am so thankful she was not in the car at the time. Must be a syndicate or something in the Florida/Roodepoort area. Was also tweeted but the car has not been recovered yet. Anyone spotting a Gold Toyota Corolla reg SJZ670GP please contact Florida police station on 0118317000 and quote case number 116/04/2012. Your help in recovering my 76 year old mom's pride and joy would be greatly appreciated.

      Azande - 2012-04-10 10:16

      will spread the news. Hope your mom is taking the loss well.

      leesmit1 - 2012-04-10 10:24

      Thanks Azande. She is taking it as well as can be expected under the circumstances. Still in shock though. The more people we can get to look, hopefully the bigger the chance of getting the car back.

  • johandutoit2000 - 2012-04-10 10:04

    So Twitter had nothing to do with it. The authorities traced his active mobile signal. Even if his friend did not Tweet anything, the end result would have been exactly the same.

      Jackie - 2012-04-10 10:23

      Um? The authorities wouldnt have acted so quickly if it wasnt for twitter. You dont think it was the police busy on this think so quickly? It was mostly private companies that did the tracking. So twitter was very much involved.

  • Azande - 2012-04-10 10:10

    Great news. Well done Twitters. May the rest stop broadcasting hoax alarm messages before people stop taking alarm messages seriously. Once again JOB WELL DONE.

  • Jozi - 2012-04-10 11:12

    A week ago on Saturday night my friend was hi-jacked by 3 guys infront of his gate. They searched him took both his phones, instructed him to get into the passenger seat and put his head between his legs. the gunman sat directly behind him. He says they drove normally as if the car balonged to them. When they got to the traffic lights at the sasol on Nasrec road my friend says he seen lots of light and quickly escaped from the vehicle and ran to call for help. Anyway he spoke to a few guys he knew and they found his car in Eldo's, they negotiated on his behalf and the jackers told him that they will give his car back for R5000, he did so and got his car back the Monday. My point is surely if we know where to go if a family member or friend has been car jacked then surely the police should know? there are a handful of guys (contractors) that remove trackers/netstar from stolen vehicles. Can they not be followed or there houses watched by police? starting point for 80% of jacked/stolen cars in Jozi would be the hands of these 6/7 men who remove these devices.

      leesmit1 - 2012-04-10 11:30

      Cars held for ransom. Interesting way of making money without having to strip/sell the stolen vehicle. Are we then as not guilty as the thieves for paying the "bribe" to get back your own vehicle?

  • bashin.monyela - 2012-04-10 13:15

    Now this is Gee

  • Matthew - 2012-05-04 10:24

    Thank God for Pig Spotter!

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