Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Drop the charges, and we'll give the car back

Drop the charges, and we'll give the car back

Share 1 September 2010, 06:54
By Angelique Serrao

A bizarre hijacking of a Joburg businessman - allegedly by police - saw him being asked to "drop the charges" in order to get his car back.

But the businessman, whose name is known to The Star, refused, and police are yet to recover his brand-new Golf GTi, saying he may be the latest victim of the notorious Blue Light Gang.

The 33-year-old businessman, who does not want to be identified, said he was driving his silver GTi from Linbro business park towards the Glenhove Road off-ramp at around 12.30pm when he was stopped by four men in a black Ford Focus with flashing blue lights and an antenna on top. His friend was in the passengerseat.

According to the businessman, four men came towards the car carrying what he believes were R-5 rifles. They flashed police badges at them.

"They held the rifles to our heads and told us that the car was stolen and we were suspects. They searched the car and took out our briefcases."

The two men were put in the back seat of the Ford and were told they were being taken to a police station by two of the police officers, while two others got into the Golf. Both cars then left the scene in convoy.

The businessman said they then drove in circles before the driver of the Golf pulled off on a slip road near Louis Botha Avenue and parked in front of a black BMW.

While driving towards Norwood, one of the officers looked through their briefcases while the driver spoke on his cellphone.

"He had about three phones which were ringing, and he spoke to numerous people," the businessman said.

"I heard him say 'superintendent, we have the suspects'. They told us not to stress, that nothing would happen to us. His phone rang again. I heard someone tell him they had the wrong people, and that they must leave us and take the car."

In Norwood, the man said they saw a marked police car with "Norwood" written at the back.

"The two cars signalled each other with their sirens and then the marked car drove in front of us, stopping traffic," he said.

The two men were driven to a quiet road in Sandringham, where they were told to get out and lie face down.

"The one man held the R-5 rifle to my head, and the other held a handgun to my friend's head. We were told not to look up," he said.

The guns were cocked before the suspects drove away.

The pair flagged down a passing motorist, who took them to the Sandringham police station, where they were told that the number plate of the Ford was fake and that "they wouldn't open a case".

The men went home and called 10111, and were told that police would come to their home. They never arrived, and the businessman went to the Norwood police station in the evening to lay charges.

"When the police looked up the registration number, they said the Ford was a state car and was owned by a policeman," the man said.

He added there was a lot of activity at the police station, and one policeman asked him if he would drive to Alexandra to fetch his car.

"Then a policeman behind the desk passed me a cellphone and told me that a senior superintendent wanted to speak to me. I asked him his name and he said it didn't matter. Then he asked me if I would drop the charges if I got my car back," he said.

His GTi was eventually put on a registry for stolen cars at 11.30pm.

Captain Philip Maganedisa, of the Norwood police station, said he had looked at the docket and was sure this was the work of the Blue Light Gang. He said the fact that the Ford had four antennae (which trace trackers of stolen and hijacked cars) might mean it was the police, but it could also be members of the gang.

"We discovered that the vehicle was not a state vehicle, but the number plates may have been stolen," the captain said.

He added that the docket had been taken to the provincial office to see which police cars were in the area at the time.

Meanwhile, the businessman is convinced that police officers were involved in the crime. "What happened is just too strange. Too many things don't add up," he said.

This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on September 01, 2010

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