Hijackings, robberies on the rise at Gauteng petrol stations

A woman, her husband and two children were recently hijacked at gunpoint at a petrol station in Bryanston.

Motorists are urged to be vigilant after a spate of hijackings and robberies at petrol stations across Gauteng, reports the Centurion Rekord.

According to research by the Institute for Security Studies, hijackings have increased by 55 percent in the past four years to at least 40 hijackings daily.

Gauteng is the hotspot, with almost two out of three hijackings.

SA Petroleum Retail Association director Vishal Premlall said hijackers now targeted motorists at petrol stations, and warned motorists to stay alert.

Fidelity ADT community development manager Linda Reeder said it was important for motorists to plan their routes carefully, so they did not stop in high-risk areas to fill up.

“Ideally, choose three preferred suppliers along your daily routes and make sure you change your routes regularly,” said Reeder.

She said it was not advisable to fill up early in the morning or late evenings.

“Most importantly, a petrol station is not a place to let your guard down.”

“Stopping to refuel your car, is definitely not the time to stop and make calls or check your phone for messages.”

She said you could see from the video footage from filling stations how dangerous it was to be distracted on your cellphone or to leave your door or window open.

“Windows need to be closed at all times and your boot locked.”

She said unlocked passenger doors were an invitation to hijackers or to thieves to steal goods lying loose in the car.

She said hijackers often worked in tandem with one coming up to your window to talk to the motorist while another came around to get into the car from the passenger side.

Premlall said it was important for motorists to understand most petrol stations were not equipped to manage this type of risk and petrol attendants were unarmed to do anything about a hijacking.

Social cohesion activist Yusuf Abramjee suggested petrol stations should have a single point for entering and exiting and install technology to fight crime, such as giving each attendant a panic button.

He also suggested the installation of automated boom-gate or spikes at the access point.

“This would close in criminals and prevent them from leaving the premises,” he said.

Reeder said while sat at a petrol station you had to be were aware of your surroundings and have a back-up plan in mind in case of an emergency.

“Act in the way you would if you knew you were being watched, because you probably are being watched.”

Recent incident

This week, the Sandton Chronicle reported that a woman, her husband and two children were hijacked at gunpoint at the Engen petrol station on Main Road in Bryanston on July 15.

The victim took to Facebook to warn the community to be vigilant when visiting the petrol station. She said the armed men were very professional. They wore gloves, were very fast and had their faces covered with handkerchiefs.

The victim said she is grateful that neither of them were harmed and said the perpetrators had the patience to allow her to unstrap her baby.

Constable David Mothapo, spokesperson for the Sandton Police Station, confirmed that the hijacking did take place. “The victims went inside and when they returned to their car, a white sedan stopped next to them. The suspects went to the driver and passenger side of the vehicle and then told the victims to get out.”

Mothapo said the suspects got away with the vehicle, a phone and a handbag containing cash. They are still at large and police are investigating the incident.

Caxton News Service



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