Two women survived a night of terror after they were kidnapped in the north of Pretoria and ransomed for money, Pretoria Moot Rekord reports.
Marelize Taljaard and Melonie Booysen were apparently hijacked on Sunday night, right outside one of the women’s homes in Montana.
Sinoville police spokesperson Johan van Dyk said the hijackers took both women captive in Booysen’s Toyota Corolla.
“The two women apparently met outside the house in Montana, around 20:00, after the one’s husband left to buy food,” said Van Dyk.
“After the husband returned home, he found his wife missing. Her cellphone was left inside the house, so he immediately knew something was wrong.”
Soon after the women disappeared, the Eblockwatch community watch group alerted residents throughout Pretoria.
SMS messages and social media posts were sent to more than 6 000 Eblockwatch members to keep an eye out for the women and the hijacked vehicle, according to Eblockwatch founder André Snyman.
“The hijackers apparently forced one of the women into the trunk of the car, while they took the other to an ATM,” said Snyman.
Van Dyk said the women’s kidnappers called their family members, demanding a ransom.
“They apparently called the one’s husband to demand R2 000,” said Van Dyk.
“After he transferred the money, the suspects called back claiming that the money could not be withdrawn and he had to make another payment.”
Hours later – with a total of R4 000 transferred into the kidnappers’ bank account – the two women were found in Solomon Mahlangu Drive.
“They were traumatised, but otherwise unharmed,” Van Dyk said.
The stolen vehicle had not yet been found and police are still investigating.
Snyman said kidnappings for a ransom did not happen often.
“Hijacking seems to have taken on a whole new dimension,” he said.
“The victims said their kidnappers were even very casual about the whole thing. They apparently went to have a drink at a shebeen while they waited for the money to be transferred.”
Snyman encouraged residents to register with Eblockwatch.
“If you are registered, there are no delays or orders to obtain before we can track you, should you go missing,” Snyman said.