A thief grabs parts from the burning Laser as firefighters douse the flames. Picture: Rick-Lee Valentine

Cape Town - This was the scene on the Cape Flats on Sunday where a car burnt out and opportunistic criminals took advantage by stripping the vehicle, several men helping themselves to parts of the burning car while firefighters were still busy putting out the flames.

Curious neighbours looked on as the Ford Laser went up in flames on Sunday morning on Caravelle Road in Rocklands, Mitchells Plain - but after the flames were put out and the car cooled down, several men armed with spanners started taking parts off the car.

A witness said the old Ford Laser was ablaze seconds after the unidentified driver jumped out. “He told us that he saw smoke coming out from under his bonnet and got out of the car to check," she said, "but then the car went up in flames.

“It all happened so fast. If he didn’t get out when he did, things could have been much worse.”

The thieves carried off 'anything with weight'. Picture: Rick-Lee Valentine.

The woman said the elderly man could only watch helplessly as firefighters tried to save his car.

“He didn’t really talk to anyone," she said. "We don’t know who he is or where he lives, but he was in shock.

“At first we thought somebody was burning a car on purpose because there was a shooting in the area the night before and we expected revenge attacks, but he mentioned that the wiring of his car was faulty and that could have been the cause of the fire.”

As soon as the car had cooled down, thieves dived inside to grab whatever they could. Picture: Rick-Lee Valentine

The woman says people started stripping the car even while it burned.

“There were guys stripping the car as firemen were trying to put out the fire. They were taking anything, copper wires or anything that had weight.”

She said when the driver of the car saw what was happened, he became afraid and took off.

Police spokeswoman Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana, said no case had been opened.

“SAPS is aware of the incident," she said. "However, there is no case that has been opened.”

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