Members of Heidelberg police arrested a South African Police Services (SAPS) policeman believed to be a member of a truck hijacking gang targeting the N3 near Heidelberg.
He was arrested on Thursday night (November 2) after police officers spotted a suspect white VW Polo on the N3.
The Polo caught their attention when they saw blue lights inside the vehicle while all police vehicles in the area are expected to have the lights on top of the vehicle.
As the officers approached the suspect vehicle, the oblivious suspects tried to pull over a truck on the N3.
The suspects only then noticed the police vehicle and a high-speed chase ensued until the suspects collided with another car at the R550 and R23 crossing.
The three occupants of the Polo fled the scene on foot.
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Police and members of AfriForum Heidelberg Neighbourhood Watch combed the scene and police bulletproof vests were found, as well as two firearms (with ammunition), a jammer device, blue lights, and other tools inside the Polo.
All the items and the vehicle were booked as evidence.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the Polo belongs to a resident of Zonkizizwe.
Later the same evening, Heidelberg police received information of a person trying to open a hijacking case at Eden Park Police Station in Alberton.
The officers of Heidelberg that were involved in the earlier chase, went to the police station and identified the complainant as one of the suspects that fled the scene.
He was identified as a sergeant stationed at Zonkizizwe Police Station.
The 36-year-old officer was off duty and not wearing his uniform.
He was arrested at Eden Park Police Station and brought back to Heidelberg Police Station, where he will be held until his court appearance on Monday.
Col Phiwe Ndwandwe took over the reins as Heidelberg Police Station’s commander in December 2020.
Since the very first day, he made it his mission to curb truck and car hijacking in the Heidelberg police precinct by including all relevant stakeholders to work together to prevent hijackings along the N3, focusing on the stretch of road from the De Hoek Plaza up to the R550 Kliprivier bridge, including hotspots on the R23, R42 as well as R550 Roads.
“This is a major breakthrough in the fight against truck hijackings on the N3. There have been many complaints and allegations about the involvement of law enforcement officers in this heinous crime and this arrest will have a devastating impact on the syndicate”, Col Ndwandwe said.
“I applaud Heidelberg’s police officers for their consistent patrols and efforts to bring these syndicates down,” Col Ndwandwe said.
“Heidelberg police will continue to join forces and share resources to bring an end to the alarming increase in hijackings in our area,” he concluded.