Members of the public stopped an alleged thief from escaping by preventing him from getting out of a vehicle that he allegedly broke into. Picture: Soraya Crowie
Cape Town - An alleged vehicle jamming suspect literally landed in the hot seat after city residents kept him captive inside a luxury vehicle in the city’s CBD on Tuesday.

A group of around 30 people kept the doors of the white BMW X5, which was parked in front of Kimberley Cremation and Funeral Company, tightly closed and watched with great mirth as the suspect become hot under the collar.

The owner of the vehicle, Dr Zygmunt Piotrowski, said he did not know how the man managed to get into his vehicle.

“I went to the shop across the road and when I came back the man was inside my car. I know I locked the car and I am not sure how he managed to get inside or what he was searching for as there were no valuable items to steal. There were people around and we managed to keep him inside the car while we waited for the police to arrive,” he said.

While onlookers gathered around the car, the suspect was sweating profusely inside the locked vehicle while the windows were all closed. He took off his t-shirt and cap as the sweat poured from his body.

“I think he probably tried to jam the car’s remote and that’s how he got inside the car,” one onlooker said.

It is believed that the vehicle locked automatically once the suspect was inside and when he tried to open the door, the alarm went off, alerting members of the public, who then prevented him from getting out. For many, it was a case of justice served.

“These criminals walk around and want to commit crimes against unsuspecting people. This man must now realise that crime does not pay. What has happened to him is justice served and nobody should feel sorry for him,” one resident said.

The alleged car jammer was eventually removed by members of Wanya Tsotsi shortly before the police arrived. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Another woman said she had been a victim of a smash and grab incident just days before.

“I was inside my car waiting at a traffic light when my window was smashed. They grabbed my bag that contained my phone, house keys, identity document and other personal belongings. I was so shocked and shaken that it was difficult for me to drive on.

“I am happy that, for once, one of these criminals has been apprehended,” she said.

Members of Wanya Totsi arrived shortly afterwards and allowed the man to get out of the hot car. He was soaking wet by the time he was released and was close to fainting.

While he pleaded for water, Wanya Tsotsi members used the opportunity to cuff him just minutes before the police arrived.

They said they received a phone call regarding the incident.

“We were patrolling the city when we were informed about the incident. This man is one of the remote jamming suspects we have been looking for for a while,” they said. Wanya Tsotsi warned criminals that they would be ruthless in their fight against crime in the city this festive season.

“It is close to December and there is usually a spike in robberies during the festive season. We will show no mercy to anyone who tries to hurt innocent people. We also request the police to work closely with us during this festive period,” they said.

Police spokesperson, Captain Olebogeng Tawana, who was also on the scene on Tuesday, said that the police would investigate the matter if a case was opened.

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