Durban - A disabled man who was robbed of R50 000 and then had the money returned to him hours later thanks to swift police action, said the experience had scared him, but made him much wiser.
The man, who asked not to be named, had withdrawn the cash from a bank at the Victoria Road Mall in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday afternoon.
His neighbour was driving him and they had stopped the bakkie they were travelling in outside a shop in Victoria Road when robbers struck.
“My neighbour had gone inside the shop and I was sitting in the passenger seat with the windows open. It was very hot and the windows were all the way down. Then I saw a man put his hand into the car from the driver’s side window and was trying to grab the money bag,” he said.
The man said he screamed and pressed the hooter to get help when another suspect appeared.
They punched and pushed him against the passenger door and the thieves grabbed the money bag and fled.
His neighbour, who had rushed out of the shop by this time, saw the suspects get into a white Hyundai i30 and speed away.
They called the police who then circulated a description of the car.
Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said that a short while later, members of the Pietermaritzburg organised crime unit, who were parked on the N3 near Lion Park, spotted the vehicle and gave chase.
The chase ended on the R103 near Umlaas Road where police cornered the vehicle and arrested the four occupants.
The money bag containing the R50 000 was also recovered.
“Police believe that the getaway vehicle may possibly have been stolen as it only had one Swaziland registration number plate at the front of the vehicle and the engine number or chassis number had been obliterated,” Zwane said.
Those arrested, Nkosinathi Dlamini, 30, Wandile Dlamini, 26, Jerald Ndlovu, 25, and Mtokosizi Gumede, 40, all from Joburg, appeared briefly in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday where they were remanded in custody until February 21 for a formal bail application.
They face charges of robbery and possession of a suspected stolen vehicle.
The man thanked police for their quick response.
“This has been a valuable lesson for me. I will take more precautions and be far more wary of my surroundings and the people around me,” he said.
He said it was a scary thought to know that people had been watching him and tracking his movements.
“These people obviously knew that I had withdrawn this cash and had followed us to the shop and waited for their moment to strike. Luckily, the law was on our side and they were arrested,” he said.