Durban - A brazen smash-and-grab robber answered a call from his victim’s husband – on an iPhone he had taken at knifepoint from her – and negotiated to sell it back for R8 000.
Caryn Olivier, 29, of the Bluff, said her husband, Dustin, had called the number of her stolen phone repeatedly after the incident.
The robber eventually answered.
“He was not especially clever. We didn’t expect him to answer our repeated calls, or leave the phone on either… but to ask us for R8 000 to buy the phone was shocking,” she said. A new 16GB iPhone 5s costs almost R10 000.
Olivier had been driving her company car, a white Ford Figo, from work in Kloof on Friday at 4.45pm, when she was targeted by two men.
She normally took the St Johns Avenue/M7 route, but the traffic had piled up there.
“I decided to take an alternative route around the Pavilion (shopping centre) on the N2. I had to take the Edwin Swales (Solomon Mahlangu) off-ramp to get back to the Bluff.”
She said she had been listening to music on her iPhone, using her headphones.
“I picked up the phone to change the song and when I looked up I saw a guy in a green shirt in the rear-view mirror, behind the car. He was pointing at my car, gesturing at the guy in front of the car, in a black shirt, to come towards me.”
Olivier said this appeared to be some kind of signal to the other man to target her car.
“I was surrounded by traffic and had nowhere to go.”
The man in black approached the vehicle holding a knife, she said. “He used the back of the knife to smash the window and then asked me for my phone.”
She thought of defending herself and perhaps opening the car door to knock him off his feet, but thought better of it when he tried to stab her legs, she said.
“I was really scared and I panicked. I had the phone in my hand but it flew out of grip and hit the windscreen. I think this made him angry so he tried to stab me a second time.”
They took the phone and ran off.
“I got out of the car, because traffic was still heavy and not moving and started screaming at the people around me. There were so many people around but nobody came to help me.”
She got back into the car and managed to drive a few more metres before she had to stop to regain her composure.
“I was really shaken and crying, so I put my hazard lights on and pulled over. I also called my husband using my work phone. He (the robber) had taken my personal phone.” A man in a white VW Golf stopped to ask her if she was okay.
“I then went home, picked up my car and my husband Dustin and I went to the Brighton Beach police station where we opened a case.”
This was when the traumatic incident turned bizarre.
“My husband had been calling the number (of the stolen phone) repeatedly since we got to the police station and eventually the man picked it up.
“We were shocked that he answered, but my husband asked him if he would be willing to give the phone back to us.”
The man refused and asked them to buy the phone back for R8 000, demanding that the exchange take place via the Checkers money transfer system.
“We refused to buy something that was ours,” she said. When they phoned back, the man had dropped his offer to R2 000 and said he would meet them at Westwood Mall in Westville.
“My husband agreed, but then asked how he would keep the phone’s battery alive. The man said he would charge it but then added that he did not know if he had a charger for the phone.”
She said that her husband said he would give the man R1 500 and meet him wherever he was.
After trying several more times, the man eventually switched the phone off.
The Daily News tried to call the number but it no longer exists.
Police confirmed that a case had been lodged.