Cape Town - Opportunistic thieves were caught on camera casually opening the canopy of a bakkie that stopped at a traffic light before making off with a box of toothpaste and other goods.
The two men, one in a hoodie and the other wearing a cap, were captured at the corner of Prince George Drive and Military Road in Steenberg on a dashcam by Cape Town businessman Marc Nussey last Thursday just after 11am.
Nussey posted pictures and a video of the incident on Facebook to warn people and identify the culprits.
They are allegedly often spotted at the intersection which has been notorious for smash and grabs for many years.
He said when he caught up with the driver and told him what had happened, the man did not seem interested in laying charges.
Nussey has since seen the men hanging around the same area.
The Facebook post attracted a number of responses, including from one man who said he watched the same men snatching a box of frozen food from a similar bakkie.
“I jumped out and chased them into Lavender Hill, but could not catch them.
“I then drove directly to Kirstenhof (police station) to report the crime. They practically yawned in my face,” he wrote.
Another said he saw them steal an expensive looking mountain bike off a trailer about a week ago and questioned why there were no police there.
One man said his wife had been driving down Military Road when thieves ripped her vehicle’s canopy open and took grocery bags and ran.
“She reversed and knocked the one over. They still got away, but what gets me is that people saw this happen and they cheered them on.”
Last month, a motorist warned people to stay alert when he saw some guys forcing open a delivery vehicle and running away with a large tin of tomatoes “all in view of a metro police vehicle standing two car lengths ahead”.
The post said: “(The) delivery guy gave chase picking up a brick and unleashed from 10m range, hitting the skollie between the (shoulder) blades who returned fire with the tin of tomatoes like a world-class shot put athlete.”
Philip Bam, chairman of the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance said he had heard stories of men with bolt cutters opening locks and then looting the delivery truck at that intersection.
“Nothing seems to deter them and of course the absence of visible policing does not help at all.”
Steenberg Police station commander Lieutenant Colonel Adriaan Saulse said a suspect was arrested about two weeks ago for stealing liquor out of a truck.
It was later found in his possession.
CCTV operators kept the suspect in sight and directed metro police officers to the area, allowing them to apprehend him moments after the incident.
He admitted there was a problem with smash and grabs and theft in that area, but that the police patrol in the area.
Saulse said it often quietened down after they patrolled, but then flared up again.Last month the city council said it would spend nearly R12 million installing additional CCTV cameras to add to its current 440 cameras, but none were immediately earmarked for the Prince George Drive hotspot.
They said in the first four months of the year, the camera network detected 3 313 incidents, including accidents, crime and fires and 108 arrests were made during this period.
The council said the new cameras would be in areas like Goodwood, Silvertown, Bridgetown and Gatesville.However, ward councillor Marita Petersen said she was rolling out a CCTV system from the ward’s allocation.