File picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA).
File picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA).

Spike in Tshwane car theft; thugs now also target dog parks

By LIAM NGOBENI Time of article published Feb 10, 2020

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Pretoria - There has been an increase in cases of motor vehicle theft and theft out of motor vehicles in the east of the city, according to the SAPS.

Police spokesperson Captain Colette Weilbach said criminals were targeting shopping centres, schools, hospitals and garages for vehicle related crimes.

“Since the beginning of the academic year a number of cases were reported where vehicles were broken into at schools.”

This often happens when parents walk their children to the gate in the mornings and after hours during school events.

She said filling stations were also popular for car thieves.

“Motorists do not put away their valuables as they quickly go into the convenience store. On their return to the vehicle they discover their vehicles were broken into or stolen.

“It only takes thieves a minute to break into a vehicle to steal a laptop, cellphone or handbag. Motorists are making it easy for them by leaving valuables in full sight in the vehicle.”

More incidents of vehicle jamming have also been reported. Motorists must physically check that all the doors are locked before moving away from the vehicle.

Popular bakkies and vehicles are targeted for their spare wheels, Weilbach said. Motorists are advised to invest in anti-theft mechanisms such as spare wheel locks.

Smash and grab incidents are also on the increase. “Car floors, dashboards and seats are not good places to leave items. Any visible loose items left inside a vehicle create an opportunity for would-be criminals.

Another concern for the SAPS is the number of motor vehicle thefts at a dog park in Waterkloof Ridge.

The park on the corner of Dorado and Eridanus streets is very popular among dog owners. Weilbach said the highest number of vehicles get stolen between 9am and noon, including weekends.

Since the trend was identified, the Brooklyn SAPS enhanced their forces with the assistance of private security companies. “These security companies assist with more visible patrols in the Waterkloof Ridge area and around the park. This seems to be effective as no new incidents were reported for the past two weeks.”

Brooklyn SAPS requested dog owners to be alert and take precautions to prevent vehicle related crimes. “Other park goers must also be vigilant. At times visitors get robbed, often after dark. Last week a suspect was arrested after he tried to rob a man, 22, at the Magnolia Dell Park."

Pretoria News

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