Witnesses say two cops had responded to an armed robbery in Duinefontein Road, Heideveld, on Saturday afternoon, and had jumped out of the double cab bakkie to chase the suspects on foot. But they apparently left the keys in the vehicle, leaving the door wide open for an opportunistic local to go for a spin.
An unimpressed Fatima Abrahams, 46, said she was standing outside, and saw “the entire stupid episode” play out.
She said the cops had pulled over and gave chase as the robbers took off between the houses, leaving their police van unattended. A “well-known tikkop” in the area then sneaked up to the van, got in and drove off.
“The police were running," she said, "that was the first shocking thing I saw, but leaving their car unattended and unlocked was stupid. We have all sorts of crooks around here and none of them is scared of the cops any more."
A while later, the two policemen returned empty-handed, shocked to find their van had vanished. They called in more police, a search was launched and witnesses were questioned.
“It’s a mockery when the people who are supposed to be responsible and protect us, can’t even look after their own stuff", laughed Abrahams. "It was sad, but worth watching.”
Awaiting a report
Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Andrè Traut could not confirm the incident by last night.
“Kindly be advised that your enquiry was sent to Manenberg police and this office is awaiting a report,” was all he would say.
Photos of police questioning people at the scene were posted on Facebook but were removed later on Sunday. Posting on the Shift Manenberg page, EMS worker Patty Seppie said the suspect gave up his joyride when he could not find the headlight switch in the van. He apparently went home where he became violent and his family went to the police station to request an ambulance to take him to a psychiatric hospital.
A Manenberg police officer who also posted on the page, confirmed that they had searched for the van the entire afternoon. It could not be confirmed if the stolen vehicle had been found.