Durban - Police have arrested some of the culprits who have been operating at the notorious smash-and-grab spot in Cato Manor - the section between Vusi Mzimela (Bellair) Road towards Edwin Swales Drive (M7), where the two lanes join.

A police source told the Daily News that they had a meeting on Sunday on the issue of smash-and-grabs in the area.

The source said the thieves change their operational times, making it difficult to catch them.

Ward 30 councillor Warren Burne said he was aware of the issue in the area, but learnt about it in general conversation as people had not approached him about it.

“It would be nice if the SAPS could station someone in the area in order for them to be a deterrent, but it wouldn’t be a good idea to take a source and just place them there,” Burne said.

He said the people responsible for the smash-and-grabs were very mobile.

Mandla Xulu, the chairperson of the Cato Manor community policing forum (CPF), said they send CPF and crime prevention volunteers to observe and distribute pamphlets to motorists and the community.

“This is a problem because people are afraid to drive in the area. We have also encouraged people to report suspicious people to the police,” Xulu said.

The CPF has also erected warning boards in the area to alert people.

“Women are targeted because they place their bags on the seats and their purses and cellphones are usually in their bags,” he said.

He said he had asked the local detectives if he could speak to the suspects arrested last week to establish why they did it.

The three men had apologised and promised they would not do it again. Xulu visited their homes.

“When speaking to the arrested men, we try to get them to reveal where they sold the things they stole.

“We take them with us and they pinpoint the shops they sold it to, then we get those people who opened cases so they can get their stuff back,” he said.

Xulu felt there were not many people involved in the smash-and-grabs because, once police had made an arrest, “it all goes quiet”.

Daily News