In a major success in the ongoing battle against vehicle theft and smuggling, Limpopo police arrested a 35-year-old South African man attempting to smuggle a stolen Toyota Fortuner out of South Africa to Zimbabwe via the Beitbridge border.
The arrest was made on Tuesday, October 31, thanks to a coordinated effort involving the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Limpopo, private security, and an investigation company.
Brigadier Hlulani Mashaba, the provincial spokesperson for SAPS in Limpopo, lauded the diligent efforts of the law enforcement agencies, stating that “the fight against the smuggling of stolen motor vehicles in the province by the industrious men and women in blue continues to yield positive results.”
The arrest unfolded following intelligence provided by the SAPS crime intelligence unit at Lebowakgomo, indicating the presence of a stolen silver-grey Toyota Fortuner.
The vehicle had been reported stolen in Benoni, Gauteng, the previous week.
An intelligence-driven operation was initiated, leading to the discovery of the Toyota Fortuner as it travelled along the N1 public road from Johannesburg toward the Beitbridge border post.
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The vehicle was promptly intercepted and forced to halt at Nyl Plaza Tollgate, where a 35-year-old South African male from Springs was taken into custody for possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect had faced similar charges in the past.
In the Marble Hall policing area last year, he had been apprehended while attempting to smuggle another Toyota Fortuner to Zimbabwe.
However, that particular case was later withdrawn in court.
Additionally, it was alleged that he successfully smuggled another stolen Toyota Fortuner to Zimbabwe via the Beitbridge port of entry just last week.
Further investigations indicated that he had connections with a known suspect who was arrested this year in September.
That individual had been caught in possession of a stolen Toyota Hilux bakkie while trying to smuggle it to Zimbabwe.
The suspect arrested in September for the stolen Toyota Hilux bakkie is expected to appear before the Mokopane Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, facing charges related to the possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe, the provincial commissioner of SAPS in Limpopo, expressed her satisfaction with the commendable work carried out by the police force in combating the smuggling of stolen motor vehicles within the province.
The arrest serves as a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to curb vehicle theft and smuggling, contributing to enhanced security along the South Africa-Zimbabwe border.