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Pretoria east vehicle stolen at weekend recovered en route to Zim

Police investigations revealed that the vehicle was reported stolen at Garsfontein on October 21 and was on its way to be fenced to Zimbabwe.

A vehicle suspected stolen in Garsfontein, east of Pretoria has been recovered seemingly making its way across the border to Zimbabwe.

Police in Limpopo said a 34-year-old suspect was arrested in the stolen Toyota Fortuner 2.8 on October 23.

The foreign national is expected to appear in the Polokwane magistrate’s court soon on charges relating to a breach of immigration laws, possession of a suspected stolen motor vehicle and driving a motor vehicle without a valid driving licence.

Spokesperson Brigadier Hlulani Mashaba said the man has been linked to a vehicle-smuggling syndicate operating between Gauteng and Limpopo in Beitbridge.

Mashaba said the arrest and recovery were made by the provincial tracking team, Sekhukhune highway patrol (flying squad) and private security companies following a tip-off that the suspect on the Berghenk Road was illegally taking a stolen car into Zimbabwe through Beitbridge.

“An operation was activated, and the team spotted the described vehicle.

“They tried to stop it, but the driver sped off,” said Mashaba.

He said the law enforcement gave chase from Kuschke Agriculture School until the driver stopped at R101 next to Lund’s.

“The suspect was immediately arrested for possession of suspected stolen motor vehicle, driving without a valid driving licence, and it was also established that he is in the country illegally.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the vehicle was reported stolen in Garsfontein on October 21.”

Arrest of man with vehicle suspected to be reported stolen in Garsfontein.

According to Mashaba, the suspect is linked to the smuggling of a Toyota Hilux Legend 50 to Zimbabwe a week before.

“Police investigations might link the suspect to more similar cases.”

Limpopo police commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembi Hadebe commended the team involved for moving swiftly to arrest the suspect.

She further directed it to look into the modus operandi to prevent similar incidents from happening again.

In June, police intercepted and arrested a 52-year-old suspect before they crossed the border in a stolen vehicle.

Colonel Malesela Ledwaba said according to intelligence information, the Toyota Hilux was reportedly hijacked in Pretoria and would have been smuggled out of the country via Beitbridge into Zimbabwe.

“The operational team followed information along the R101 outside Mokopane and the vehicle fitting the description was spotted. Attempts to stop the vehicle failed as the driver sped off and a high-speed chase ensued until the Toyota Hilux was intercepted along Nelson Mandela Drive in Mokopane.”

Ledwaba said preliminary investigations revealed that the vehicle was heading to Bulawayo in Zimbabwe.

“It was further established that its registration and chassis numbers had been cloned from another Toyota in Johannesburg.”

Police minister, General Bheki Cele, at a press conference on September 26 said crime intelligence operators were continuing to work with informants and units to clamp down on organised crime related to kidnapping, extortion, narcotics, cash-in-transit, and vehicle and truck hijackings.

“The SAPS continues to respond decisively to crimes linked to critical infrastructure, commercial crimes, stock theft, illegal mining and illicit cigarettes, theft as well as hijacking and smuggling of motor vehicles.

“It is clear the major shake-up and change of management in the crime intelligence unit is starting to yield very positive results.”

He said the crime intelligence was providing crucial information that would yield success.

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