Residents help car owner

Ashwell Prinss wheels were stolen off his car at Kuils River station.

Kuils River residents rushed to the aid of a man whose car was stripped at the train station last week, leaving him stranded.

Ashwell Prins, of Silversands, thanked residents for their help, but he said the Kuils River station parking lot needed better security. “We will even pay for it,” he said. “Maybe put up a boom.”

Mr Prins takes the train from Kuils River station every morning, just before 7am, leaving his car parked next to others.

But when he got off the train just before 5pm last Tuesday, he found his car had no wheels. “All the rims had been stolen,” he said.

A shocked Mr Prins hailed passing police officers, and as he reported what had happened, curious onlookers stopped to stare but then drove off. There was also no sign of any security guards.

Mr Prins’s insurance wouldn’t tow his car without wheels, and he didn’t want to leave it there overnight. “I was worried they would strip my whole car,” he said.

Then a couple stopped to help. “A woman and her husband stopped and stayed with me the whole time,” Mr Prins said.

The woman was Ulricke Spangenberg. She promptly put a post on the Kuils River Community Page calling for aid.

“Can someone please assist this poor guy who had all four tyres stolen off his car at Kuils River station,” she said. “He needs 14-inch tyres and nuts in order to get the car towed.”

The post was first greeted with angry responses criticising the security or relating similar experiences.

Christelle Labuschagne said: “Dit maak mens woedend en die security is dan nerens te sien nie.”

But residents also didn’t hesitate to help and, within an hour, Mr Prins’s car had three borrowed tyres and his own spare.

Ms Spangenberg responded on the post saying: “Thank you to Daryl De Voux, Eben Fargo, Ray Allesandro Benitez Everest, Garth Europe and Ashley Jaftha for your speedy response. Thanks Kuils River Community for your genuine concern. The Prins Family is sorted.”

This news was greeted with a long response of happy accolades and pats on the back.

Cindy Prins said: “A huge thank you to the Kuils River community for their phenomenal help and support we’ve received. Me and my husband will be forever grateful.”

Carmen Africa Stals said: “Wow, what an amazing community”

The Northern News asked Metrorail what security measures were at the station, but spokeswoman Riana Scott said the lot was the City’s responsibility and”most parking areas (and outside of those) is generally at owners’ own risk”.

Suzette Little, mayoral committee member for area north said the station parking area was part of a public area.

“Therefore, all parking is at the owner’s risk.”

She said the City deployed around five contract security guards from 6am till 6pm daily, and four guards were deployed at night.

“City Law Enforcement officers will visit the area on a more frequent basis to assist with visible policing,” she said.