Crime fighters combine to thwart car theft trio

Three men, whom police suspect could be linked to a series of car thefts in the northern suburbs, were arrested with help from neighbourhood watches.

The men, aged 38, 36 and 31, are from Philippi. They were nabbed for attempted car theft in Brackenfell on Wednesday February 23 after a coordinated effort by members of the Durbanville, Kuils River and Sonkring neighbourhood watches, said Brackenfell police spokeswoman Captain Erica Crous.

At about 10.35am on Wednesday February 23, a member of the Durbanville Neighbourhood watch followed a suspicious grey Volkswagen Polo, with three occupants allegedly scouting northern suburbs malls.

“They were driving from shopping centre to shopping centre, which was very suspicious. First they were at Tyger Valley, then Paradys Park Centre, Brackenfell Centre and Fairbridge Mall. After that the vehicle went to Boulevard Square, Brackenfell, where they parked in the parking area, away from other parked vehicles,” Captain Crous said.

One of the men got out of the Polo and milled about in the parking lot before returning to the vehicle.

At this point, the Durbanville Neighbourhood Watch member had been joined by members of the Sonkring and Kuils River watches, to stake out the car from a distance.

They had watched as one of the men from the Polo had then broken into a parked white Toyota, said Captain Crous.

“The suspect pushed down the window and unlocked the door. He entered the vehicle where he stayed for about a minute, got out, locked the door and got back in the Polo.”

Notified by the watch members, police blocked off the men’s escape and arrested them for attempted car theft.

“The ignition of the vehicle was damaged. The Toyota was later handed over to its 82-year-old owner,” Captain Crous said.

“We are investigating the possibility that the arrested suspects might be linked to other cases.”

Sonkring Neighbourhood Watch patrol manager Wynand van Zyl said they did not comment to the media and referred queries to police.

Kuils River CPF acting chairman Neville Botha said he was out of town and could not comment. The Durbanville CPF did not respond by time of publication.