Johannesburg - Police believe they have made significant inroads into cracking a truck-hijacking syndicate with the discovery on Friday morning of a warehouse filled with stolen stock.
The warehouse in Eldorado Park contained goods worth more than R1 million and it is believed to have been an off-loading zone for hijacked trucks around Gauteng.
Captain Augustinah Selepe said Hillbrow detectives were given a tip-off by a member of the community that a suspect they were investigating had kept an unlicensed firearm at the warehouse. But when police arrived there on Thursday they found a full warehouse.
“On police arrival the premises looked suspicious and a search warrant was obtained,” Selepe said on Friday morning.
The merchandise included different brands of clothing, car parts, mattresses and other goods in sealed boxes. Selepe said police were still on the scene on Friday morning, going through everything.
She said the goods may have been stored at the warehouse before being sold illegally. “It is alleged that the cargo was part of several truckloads that were diverted and rerouted while in transit to retail distribution centres.”
Police were able to trace some of the items to truck hijackings that had been reported earlier. The owner of the warehouse was contacted and he indicated he was renting out the premises.
No arrests have been made.
Gauteng Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant-General Lesetja Mothiba praised members of the Eldorado Park community police forum for the information they provided.
“Policing cannot be done by the police alone and we need information as this can help us in our investigations,” he said.
Police have made a number of breakthroughs recently into truck hijacking, which has become a rising crime trend.
In July The Star revealed that police officers appeared to be involved, with many hijackings being done by men dressed as police officers and driving marked police cars.
The driver is often tied up, driven around and dumped on the side of the road. Network jamming devices are used to stop the truck’s tracker from giving off a signal.
Goods targeted are things that cannot be easily traced, but are worth millions of rand, such as cigarettes, clothing and electronic items.