Disturbing footage of a brazen car robbery on a quiet street in Emmarentia, Johannesburg doing the rounds on social media has sharpened the focus of unsuspecting residents celebrating the festive season.
In the clip, a white SUV casually parks behind a black VW Polo on the street.
To the untrained eye, it would appear as though the SUV was either parking, or stopping to answer a phone call.
Instead, something much more sinister brews.
A man then gets out of the car, scouting the street both ways before making his move and quickly opening the car door on the driver’s side in under ten seconds.
At this time, any cars driving past would assume the Polo belongs to the man inside.
The windscreen wipers of the car then go on and off a few times, presumably as the thief gets the hang of fiddling his way to starting the car.
Another vehicle even drives past while the man is busy figuring out how to start the car.
Undeterred, the man succeeds, quickly making a u-turn before being followed by the white SUV. Both cars calmly drive away.
Watch the footage below:
Car theft syndicates do not just affect the drivers.
Victims lose a significant amount of money after purchasing the stolen cars without knowing.
In June, nine government officials were arrested for allegedly helping re-register the cars.
Lieutenant Colonel Philani Nkwalase said the Hawks’ integrated team in Cape Town, that includes Serious Organised Crime Investigation and Serious Corruption Investigation, as well as the Road Traffic Management Cooperation (RTMC), arrested the nine suspects between the ages of 32 and 62 during the second leg of a project-driven investigation in Gauteng.
They were working as registration personnel in Roodepoort, Langlaagte and Krugersdorp (Mogale City).
This followed an investigation by the Hawks team which identified several stolen vehicles that had been fraudulently re-registered on the National Traffic Information System (Natis) as rebuilds.
17 vehicles that were sold to unsuspecting buyers who purchased these vehicles from second-hand car dealers as well as roadside car sales through a gentleman’s agreement were recovered and returned to their rightful owners.
Compiled by Nica Richards. Additional reporting by Vhahangwele Nemakonde