Taxi drivers rescued a woman during a smash-and-grab robbery in the city centre and gave the thief some street justice.Lincoln Meade resident Sally Beattie said the incident happened at the intersection of Langalibalele and Boshoff streets on Friday.She was on her way to the Labour Department offices on Langalibalele Street with a friend who was driving, when an unarmed man pulled open the passenger front door and tried to steal her cell phone and handbag.Beattie said she had not realised that her door was not locked. “We had just passed the museum when all of a sudden this guy came up and pulled the door open and immediately started scratching. We were at the robot and completely shocked at this brazen skollie.”She said she had just received a message on her phone and was busy replying when the incident happened.“When we stopped at the robot, I did not even notice this guy approaching the car. It all happened so fast, and although I felt helpless, I was not prepared to give him my phone.“He was virtually inside the car trying to get my phone away from me and also pulling at my handbag, which was at my feet.”“I just started fighting and screaming like a banshee and held onto my phone for dear life. It was very scary because he had my door open. I thought he was going to harm me because I fought and didn’t give him what he wanted.”Beattie said in the middle of the fight for her valuables, a vigilant taxi driver who noticed what was happening reversed and drove into the vehicle’s open door, blocking the thief.“He blocked this guy so that he couldn’t get away with my phone. His conductor got out with a big solid rubber baton and was bashing this guy.”She said other surrounding taxi drivers all got out to assist her. “The whole robot [intersection] came to a standstill. Everybody got out and I was amazed that so many people came to help.”Still shaken, Beattie said she managed to close the door and her friend drove off, leaving the thief in the hands of the taxi drivers.“I just want to say thank you to the taxi drivers. They were all so incredible and brave. I had all my important documents and valuables in my bag. I will forever be grateful ... It was a very, very scary experience.” She warned other motorists, and said: “We need more police visibility in that area.”Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said this was an isolated case and that theft out of vehicles, or smash-and-grabs in traffic in the CBD, were not on the increase. “For now it’s not a concern in Pietermaritzburg and we don’t have any hotspots,” he said.