Members of the Germiston Flying Squad Vehicle Theft and Anti-hijacking Unit believe they may have stumbled across yet another car-hijacking syndicate, this time operating in the Phumula area, north of Kathorus.
This follows the discovery of a white Toyota Etios sedan abandoned in a cul-de-sac in Phumula shortly after 11am on November 5.
The police said the vehicle was hijacked in Edenvale shortly after 10am that same day.
According to Sgt Ronnie Ramara, the team received information from a tracking company informing them of a hijacked vehicle parked in Kusasa Street, Extension 21, Phumula.
“On arrival, we found the vehicle parked in a cul-de-sac where the suspects had apparently parked and left it, a few minutes before we arrived,” explained Ramara.
He also told Kathorus MAIL the discovery of the new hide-out was a huge success for the Germiston Flying Squad’s stolen and hijacked vehicles.
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WO Chris Wiid, who was with Ramara’s team at the scene, confirmed the discovery of the Toyota Etios in Kusasa Street was a remarkable breakthrough.
“At least our search for the vehicle theft syndicate working in this area has been narrowed down drastically now that we know this much about them,” said an ecstatic Wiid, who didn’t elaborate.
Ramara explained that the Flying Squad’s vehicle unit has over a period of time managed to identify several different vehicle thefts and hijacking syndicates based in Ekurhuleni.
He added these are the same syndicates behind the high number of stolen and hijacked vehicles recovered around Kathorus townships Katlehong, Thokoza and Vosloorus.
Ramara pointed out that car theft syndicate members often visit neighbouring towns, shopping centres and malls or cruise through deserted roads in search of victims to rob and hijack.
He also pointed out most car theft and hijacking victims are often followed before they are robbed.
Explaining the possible reasons behind the rapid increase in theft or hijackings of Toyota Etios, Ramara said police investigations reveal:
• The Etios engine is compatible with that of a Toyota Avanza.
• The Etios gearbox is also transferable to a Toyota Avanza.
• Toyota Avanza’s are used mainly as local taxis in many townships around Ekurhuleni.
• Other Etios parts, like rims and tyres, are often sold as replacement parts to other owners.
• Almost all internal local taxis in Phumula are Toyota Avanzas.
“We recover on average between five to seven stolen or hijacked vehicles per week in the neighbouring areas of Leondale, Phumala and Rondebult,” said Ramara, who blamed most vehicle thefts on the carelessness of some owners.
“It is high time car owners must realise as long as they provide car thieves and hijackers with the opportunity to steal and rob from them, car thefts and hijackings will continue.”
Ramara cautioned motorists about the importance of staying alert and aware at all times when driving on the road.
“Make sure you can see what is happening around you without having to look from side to side, without raising anyone’s suspicions and drawing attention to yourself,” added Ramara.
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