Cape Town - Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille’s annual leave got off to a hair-raising start when she was a victim of a smash and grab at the notorious N2 and Vanguard Driver intersection.
De Lille was driving alone from Cape Town to a friend in Rylands when she took the Vanguard Drive exit at about 6pm on Christmas Eve.
At the traffic light, she noticed two young men. One walked past her to the back of her private BMW 328 and back to the front again. Seconds later, her passenger side window was smashed.
“It happened in a split second,” De Lille said.
She said the men made off with her handbag which was on the floor on the passenger side of the vehicle. Her watch, R3 000 in cash, cellphone and credit cards were stolen.
“I was so shocked I did not know what to do. The robot changed and cars hooted,” De Lille said.
Metro police officers on Vanguard Drive gave chase but no one was arrested because the suspects disappeared into the Langa area.
A case was opened at Bonteheuwel police station and transferred to Bishop Lavis police.
Police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut said the police were aware of the incident and it was under investigation.
Traut urged motorists to exercise caution when they approached robots. He advised them not stop to near the vehicle in front to avoid being “boxed in and ensure an easy getaway”.
“Conceal valuables, don’t leave cellphones, tablets and laptops on the seat in easy view of would-be criminals,” Traut said.
De Lille advised women, especially because they were seen as soft targets, to place their bags in the boot instead.
“I would like to take this unfortunate opportunity to warn all motorists to take extra care when travelling this festive season.
“Ensure your valuables are out of sight, remain aware of your surroundings and keep your doors locked,” De Lille said.
Traut said that while police were aware of the Vanguard Drive intersection as a hot spot, he did not want to identify other areas of concern because “crime patterns constantly shifted”.