The affordable education loan option
Cape Town - Police nabbed four hijacking suspects and recovered stolen cigarettes worth nearly R85 000 when the suspects, who had allegedly held the driver up with a toy gun, panicked and tried to hide in a field when they mistook police parked at a stop street for a roadblock.
The cigarettes had been stolen from a British American Tobacco delivery truck, which was hijacked at about 8.30am on Friday in Muizenberg. The four, aged between 18 and 20, were apprehended in Philippi by police patrolling farm areas there. They were found with the cigarettes, five stolen cellphones and a toy gun.
According to Philippi station commander Colonel Desmond Laing, the suspects had previous convictions ranging from murder and assault to armed robbery and hijacking.
Laing told Weekend Argus he and his team were patrolling the farm areas near Philippi on Friday when they stopped to speak to a group of striking construction workers. “A member of the public informed us that they had seen four men jumping out of a cream Toyota Cressida, and we gave chase,” he said. They found the car with all four doors open. The suspects were lying in wet grass close to the vehicle, apparently attempting to hide.
Laing said they tried to flee, but were apprehended. They had seen police vehicles at a nearby intersection, and believed there was a roadblock.
“If they had just carried on driving, we never would have got them,” he said.
“When we arrived back at the (Toyota Cressida) we recovered six boxes of cigarettes valued at R84 000. One of the suspects admitted to hijacking a tobacco vehicle.” The suspects directed the police to the British American Tobacco truck in Coniston Park. Muizenberg police found that the men had hijacked the driver with a toy gun, taken his cellphone and left him on the side of the road. The driver recognised the suspects and police retrieved his stolen cellphone.
Laing said they also found a Samsung cellphone on another of the suspects, which had been stolen in Nyanga on Wednesday. They also recovered the toy firearm and three other cellphones from the suspects’ vehicle. After profiling the suspects they found that two were wanted for previous hijackings and armed robberies, specifically targeting British American Tobacco trucks.
“The suspects further informed us that they sell the cigarettes that they steal to Bellville’s Somali shops as well as Somali shops in the township areas,” he said.
One suspect was also currently involved in a case of murder, allegedly committed in Nyanga in June. Laing said the case was pending.
The four suspects had about nine previous robbery convictions between them.
Three cases of possession of stolen property were opened at the Philippi station, while a hijacking and armed robbery case was opened at the Muizenberg station. The suspects are expected to appear in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Monday. The State will oppose bail.