Liam Ngobeni
3 minute read
27 Mar 2018
9:28 am

Anxiety over kidnappings in Pretoria East

Liam Ngobeni

Police are warning parents to be wary at all times, especially when visiting a shopping centre with their children.

Stock image.

The danger of children being abducted by strangers have parents in the east of Pretoria on tenterhooks, Pretoria East Rekord reports.

Two episodes of near kidnappings over the past few days have been reported on social media.

READ MORE: WATCH: Eldos residents furious over alleged attempted kidnapping of schoolgirl

In the first incident, Minette Griesel was at a shopping centre in Atterbury Road when an unknown man accosted her 13-year-old daughter.

This happened while she was looking at a book and not paying attention.

Griesel said the man was tall, dark and looked like a foreign national.

CCTV footage from the store was yet to be scrutinised to see if he could be identified.

“The man stood behind my daughter and pressed her arm while trying to pull her,” said Griessel.

“She was so terrified that she did not shout or scream for help. He let her go when she turned around and looked at him.”

Griessel said this had traumatised her daughter.

“She is now scared to even go to the shops with me after the incident,” said Griessel.

“It makes me angry as she is now full of fear, and it will take a while for her to recover from the experience.”

In a similar event in Mooikloof, Elize Botha Miller wrote on Sunday in the Facebook group Ek’s van die Ooste: “Same thing at Mooikloof Spar today… [bid] to take boy from mother.”

Store manager Andre Andries confirmed the episode, saying this happened in the parking lot.

“The mother was walking with her boy in the parking lot when a black Mercedes with Limpopo number plates pulled up. A male occupant shouted to her ‘I want your child’,” said the manager.

“The mother ignored him, kept on walking and the car drove off.”

Griessel warned parents to take extreme caution when visiting shopping centres or malls with their children.

Several parents reacted with a mixture of relief and anxiety on Facebook.

Nicol Saaiman said: “So grateful she’s okay. I’m just so nervous in the shops with my children.

Pear BlackMeyer wrote: “So glad all is ok. Frightening. They are so quick and blatant.”

Several episodes of this nature have been reported towards the end of last year.

At a shopping centre in Atterbury, two men were seen taking random pictures of children in December last year.

An eyewitness, Chantelle Knoesen, said she noticed them as she was walking by.

She stood behind one of the men and it looked like he was taking pictures or videos of people walking by.

“After observing him I saw him taking a picture of two kids and then looking at it. I confronted him, asking why he is taking pictures of kids and he denied it as he deleted the pictures from his cellphone,” she said.

“There was no security in sight to report the matter, unfortunately, I could do nothing so they are still out there, please watch your kids, human trafficking is real and everywhere.”

Garsfontein police spokesperson Captain Ilze Jones said though no cases had been reported, police were aware of the threat of abduction, especially of young children.

She urged parents to exercise caution when going shopping.

“Do not leave young children unattended, even for a few seconds,” she said.

“Do not your attention be drawn away from your young one by either looking for something on a shelf, talking on the phone or focusing on your shopping list.”

WATCH: Eldos residents furious over alleged attempted kidnapping of schoolgirl

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