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On the same day The Star revealed that senior police officers were allegedly involved in a truck-hijacking syndicate, a truck on the N3 was stopped by alleged police officers, then hijacked.
The truck was later retrieved by the Bedfordview police in Elandsfontein.
The Bedfordview Edenvale News reported that the truck was stopped by two alleged cops, who stood next to a marked police vehicle. When the driver stopped the truck, the officers drove away.
Police spokesman Sergeant Mduduzi Nhlabathi said before the truck could start up again, a white VW Citi Golf without number plates stopped next to him.
Two men with firearms held up the driver and fled the scene with him. They dropped off the driver in Olifantsfontein.
A network-jamming device was found in the truck.
Two weeks ago, The Star revealed that at least two police generals were under investigation for using their subordinates to orchestrate hijackings and reselling the stolen goods.
In the same week, the police arrested four suspects for truck hijacking and possession of stolen goods in Booysens.
One of the suspects was a sergeant in the Joburg Flying Squad, who was off duty at the time.
Gauteng traffic police spokeswoman Busaphi Nxumalo said their anti-hijacking unit had recovered about 40 hijacked trucks monthly in Gauteng.
“There is a big syndicate in Joburg targeting trucks transporting goods worth millions or rands,” Nxumalo said. “In some cases, when we interrogate the drivers, they tell us they have been working with the police.”
This is how the syndicates work: the police use the blue light to stop the truck, then the criminals pounce.
According to a website for New Wheels, an underwriting agency for short-term insurance that specialises in heavy-commercial vehicle insurance, there were 121 hijackings in Gauteng in May, with the highest recorded in Ekurhuleni, where 56 hijackings were reported.
The website said the modus operandi for crime in Joburg in May included criminals following people home. When the victims stopped in their driveway, the criminals pulled up behind them and threatened them with firearms - often R5s or AK-47s.
In Ekurhuleni, drivers reported that they were being stopped by suspects in police uniforms, that the driver was threatened and ordered into the suspect’s vehicle. They were driven around for hours before being dropped in the veld.
In Pretoria, criminals wearing metro police uniforms and driving a white Toyota Corolla with blue lights were pulling over drivers.
They asked the victims for their driving licence, before pointing a firearm at them, taking them to the Corolla, then informing the driver he was being arrested.
They then drove the victims around for a few hours before dropping them off unharmed.