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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Smash and grab, LIVE

MORELETA PARK, PRETORIA - With a bunch of taxi commuters, we were just waiting for a never-to-arrive taxi at about 7pm last night (28th March) as they were going about their time-killer chats. My only concern was, if this damned taxi does not come, as it had not come before, will I have to hitchhike? (I long disregarded reading the fantasy, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - I would have picked up some few alien wizardry tips). In the midst of my worrying thoughts and regrets of missed fantasia tips, loud but sharp screams of a woman nearby shatter those thoughts and the sound of shattering glass as it falls on the tar road give me jitters as it caught me off guard deep in thought.

Moments during my thoughts, I notice a young guy approaching a white VW Polo Classic, which had halted for the red lights - his approach so patient, so innocent and composed I had thought he knew the driver and was going to hop in the car.

He leans forward to peep at the passenger seat extends his right hand with astonishing speed smashes the front passenger window and with what seemed like practiced execution he doesn't pull back the hand after the smash but rather just pushes it forward and grabs a 'bag' and with similar speed dashes off the road the woman sharply screams at the top of her lungs a bit too late as the guy vanishes in to the nearby bushes (bushes alongside a main road in front of a busy shopping centre nogal, why?) the woman drives off the red light queue and speeds off probably in shock (on her mind written: almost hijacked!) and nearly driving in to on-coming traffic everybody is dumbfounded and just stood still right there!!!

Well, I heard from the commuting crowd there that it was not a 'first' witness situation for them as they had seen several smash and grabs happen with similar 'pro' execution at the same crossroad - Garsfontein and Rubenstein Roads. They relayed stories of how these guys keep coming back and that the other time, sometime in December, they captured two smash and grabbers and beat them up and returned the bag of the traumatised woman. They told me they bliksemed the guys and one of them apparently went comatose on them for some many minutes.

The interesting part: The 'pro' smash and grabber returns within what I estimated to be less than 10min of the incident but this time walking innocently on the other side of the road - with the hard evidence in hand. He was holding what we could make out to be a bag as we were very near to the robots. He was still wearing the same clothes, leather jacket, white sneakers (I think All Star). As soon as he jumps the well lit robots interaction, he dashed swiftly into a taxi that was headed to Mamelodi (this was comfirmed by a taxi queue marshall). The other guys there kept on saying "let's go get him ... we wish a police van (read: visible policing!) could just pass by and we could alert them to stop the taxi". They concluded that they can't since they couldn't make out if the grabmaster was armed or not.

The poor woman, white woman, I must emphasise for statistics sake - since on average they are, unfortunately, targets (although I am not excluding black women as victims - nearly all women are victims or potential victims to this).

That's another first for me.

HINTS: Ladies, bags not on the seat, not on your lap, but under the seat please. If you do that, at least he will peek through the window and might pass since the bounty may not be conspicuous. And may be try and invest in an anti-smash and grab tint/film on your windows - it could safe your cash, your Louis Vuitton bag, your lipstick, your other priceless possessions plus the trauma. I don't think the police will put smash and grab incidents as a real crime in South Africa amidst the hundreds of contact crimes each day - they will only do so in 2010 and on the tourist routes alone to preserve the bags that definetely have match tickets inside.

And oh, the taxi never arrived by the way!

My photos here: ____ www.flickr.com/photos/izzyone
"Judge of a man by his questions, rather than by his answers." - Voltaire

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