A Pinetown family and their friends were lucky to escape a hijacking gang unharmed when one of the hijackers fired a rifle in their driveway at the weekend.
Blue Security community and media liaison officer Andreas Mathios said the residents were in the driveway of their Tyrone Road home, seeing off some friends when the gang accosted them at around 10.40pm on Saturday. From information gathered at the scene the gang, of around three suspects, appeared to have driven past the house several times before striking.
“The residents were busy saying goodbye to their friends whose vehicles were still parked in the driveway with the main driveway gate open because they were about to leave. The suspects spotted the opportunity and stopped outside the property. As the hijacking gang approached the victims, one of the women who were standing in the driveway screamed when she saw a suspect armed with a firearm,” Mathios said.
“One of the visitors who had started reversing his vehicle out of the driveway suddenly realised what was happening and quickly drove back onto the premises, smashing into the garage door,” Mathios said.
Mathios said one of the victims wrestled with a suspect during the incident and threw cellphones into a bush to avoid the gang getting away with them, but a suspect managed to grab one of the cellphones out of the bush. “A culprit in the hijacking gang, who was armed with a rifle fired four shots before the gang fled the scene.”
In a separate incident, Mathios said that suspects who allegedly followed a Carrington Heights resident home, hijacked her outside her property in Grundel Road at around 9.45pm on Saturday night.
“It is believed that two suspects followed the resident home and hijacked her outside her property. No injuries were reported,” Mathios said.
A case of hijacking was opened at Umbilo SAPS.
Mathios advised residents to be vigilant when leaving and arriving home because driveways are hotspots for hijacking. “If you can help it never reverse out of your driveway. Make sure that you’ve got 360 degree visibility when leaving your home business or place of recreation. Always check your mirrors to see that you are not being followed,” Mathios said.
“If you suspect that you are being followed drive around the block and notify a family member or your neighborhood watch network that you are being followed and drive to your nearest police station. If you are aware of surveillance cameras in the area that you are visiting, drive slowly past the surveillance cameras which can later be used as evidence,” Mathios said.
Mathios advised residents to ensure that properties are well lit and that there is clear visibility of at least 50m from the driveway gate. “Cut back any bushes or shrubs that obscure your view and which may serve as a hiding place for a criminal to lie in wait and hijack you. Always stop parallel to the verge while waiting for your gates to open so that it will be easier to drive off if any suspicious individuals or vehicles approach you,” he said.