Car-guard heroes nab hijack suspect

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Police stand by after Braamfontein community members arrested a hijacking suspect who drove his victims car into a tree on Jorissen Street. Picture: Nicholus Tshukudu

Johannesburg - Two informal car guards and a beggar were the heroes of the morning when they grabbed a hijacker attempting to escape a crash scene.

The drama unfolded in traffic on Bertha Street in Braamfontein on Wednesday at about 8am.

Louis Vermaak, who begs along Bertha Street, saw a man wearing a leather jacket approaching a silver VW sedan with an open driver’s window.

“There was like an argument and he stabbed the driver in the arm,” he said.

The driver jumped out of the car, the hijacker jumped in and sped off into Jorissen Street - where Vermaak’s brother, Corrie, was begging for cash from pedestrians on their way to work.

Corrie was sitting on the edge of a dustbin outside the Pick n Pay when he saw the VW coming.

It looked out of control.

“There was this lady stepping off the pavement and I shouted: ‘Watch out!’” said Corrie.

The car grazed her, swerving and slamming into a tree opposite an ATM.

As the car came to a halt, the hijacking suspect immediately tried to escape. Corrie ran up to the suspect and grabbed him, holding him down with the help of two informal car guards, George Williams and Harold Richards.

“He was fighting, man,” said Corrie. “Look, he even tried to bite my hand.”

When the police arrived on the scene, it was Richards who handcuffed the hijacker.

Police spokesman Lieutenant- Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said paramedics took the hijacking victim, the alleged hijacker and the pedestrian to hospital.

The car sat almost perpendicular to the pavement, its left side wrecked, and a strip of bark had been ripped from the tree.

Pedestrians crowded around, taking photos of the scene on their phones.

“Joh, I need to go to work,” said one, tearing herself away.

“I’ve lived here for five years and I’ve never seen this in Braamfontein,” said a witness, Nicholus Tshukudu. “Braamfontein should do something for these guys. Usually people just chase them (beggars and car guards) away - but look what they did. They caught the guy.”

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