Five arrested after kidnapping ordeal of Dundee teenager ends
The kidnappers were arrested in Cape Town on Wednesday. The 15-year-old boy, whose name is known to The Mercury, was kidnapped on Saturday last week and “escaped” on Monday morning. He is at home recovering. The investigation was led by a private security company, Magma Security, the police in KwaZulu-Natal and Cape Town, and members of Crime Intelligence.
The police believe there were seven kidnappers, and they are still looking for two suspects. Two of the kidnappers involved were employed by the boy’s mother in her maintenance business. The other was a disgruntled ex-employee who had been fired over theft allegations.
The boy’s mother is a prominent businesswoman in Dundee and Ladysmith.
Family spokesperson Preshu Singh said they were pleased the boy had been released unharmed.
“He slept on the same bed they (the kidnappers) used, and they fed him. He was not as scared as he should have been, because he knew some of the people there,” said Singh.
“Even from the picture of the boy 'gagged' they sent for a ransom demand, we could see it was staged. It did not look like professional criminals,” he said.
After being released, the boy had walked for two hours to reach one of his family’s businesses in the Ladysmith CBD.
Sources close to the investigation told of how the boy was lured into the kidnappers’ trap.
“One of them went to the boy’s home and told him he had bought a new car and he should come outside and see it. When the boy got to the car, they held him at gunpoint and took him to Ladysmith,” said the source.
He said the next day the boy’s mother received a demand for ransom.
The kidnappers kept the boy in Ladysmith, but another kidnapper made a ransom demand from Cape Town.
Using a cellphone grabber, the police were able to pinpoint the exact location of the kidnappers within 30 minutes.
“They demanded a ransom of around R25000 that they wanted deposited in the shops, but the amount they actually wanted was R1million. I think they were paid an amount of R20000,” said the source.
He said the kidnappers fled on Sunday evening, leaving a padlock outside the door unlocked so the boy could escape.
Shaheen Suleiman of Magma Security, who had been contracted by the family to find the boy, said they were pleased with how the operation had gone.
Suleiman said kidnappings for ransom, where wealthy families were targeted, was on the increase.
“The issue of kidnapping for ransom is a huge problem. It is the easiest way to make money,” he said.
The SAPS directed all questions to the Hawks, who had not responded to requests for comment by the time of publication.