Johannesburg - Two minutes. That’s how long it took a smash-and-grab robber to drive into a shopping centre, park his car, break into someone else’s vehicle and drive off.
The theft took place on Tuesday at the newly upgraded parking bay of the Bryanston Shopping Centre shortly before 4pm. The incident was captured on film and the clip has been posted on crime-fighting organisation eblockwatch’s Facebook page.
The car break-in clip starts with the robber driving into the centre in a silver Nissan Tiida with an unidentified man sitting in the front passenger seat.
He then parks his vehicle next to a black Pajero.
The man leaves his vehicle and inspects the black car. Once he is done, he walks about 20m across the bay to a white BMW.
Three seconds later, the man walks towards the corridor leading into the centre. He quickly makes a U-turn, presumably because there isn’t anyone along the corridor.
He walks back to the parking bay between the Pajero and a white Toyota Camry. He aims at the back right window of the Camry. He breaks into the car with an unidentified object.
Four seconds later, he walks away carrying a laptop bag. The break-in and theft last one-and-a-half minutes.
The CCTV camera picks up the man leaving the parking bay in the same Tiida, with registration number VLK976GP.
The owner of the Camry, Chris Grant, said it was a careless mistake leaving his laptop unattended.
“I didn’t realise I would be longer at the bank. I am aware of these incidents, but didn’t think it would happen,” he said.
Centre manager Deborah Hall said they were appealing to customers not to leave valuables in their vehicles. She said this was the first incident to have happened in the centre, especially at the upper parking area, which is still new.
The centre has more than 60 cameras displayed around the mall.
Eblockwatch’s Andre Snyman said it was silly of people to leave their belongings visible in their vehicles.
He urged anyone who spots the Tiida to contact the police immediately.
Police were unable to comment on the matter at the time of publication.
In November, The Star published a story and pictures of a smash-and-grab incident in Newtown. The driver was caught on camera approaching a Chevrolet parked in Jeppe Street and then breaking the front passenger window using an unidentified object. He took a laptop and other valuables.
The driver was arrested the next day after showing up at an accident scene on the corner of Marshall and Auret streets. He appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court and was released on bail.
He was rearrested later last month for a similar crime. He was denied bail and is due to appear in the same court on January 22.