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Armed suspects rob motorists on M2 off-ramp near Gold Reef City during traffic gridlock

Azra Hoosen |
22 February 2024 | 17:00 CAT
2 min read

Armed suspects exploited a traffic jam during peak hours on the bustling M1-M2 split at the Crown Interchange to target and rob unsuspecting motorists. The incident occurred amidst the morning rush on Tuesday, leaving many commuters startled and shaken.

According to reports, five individuals brandishing 9mm firearms approached vehicles stuck in traffic, forcibly relieving occupants of their belongings.

Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) spokesperson Xolani Fihla issued a warning to motorists, urging heightened vigilance as a recent surge in highway incidents has been observed, partly attributed to the current month’s sweltering temperatures.

In a separate development, law enforcement officials made progress in addressing such criminal activities by arresting a group suspected to be involved in previous motorist robberies along the M1.

Specialist Investigator into serious Violent & Economic crimes, Mike Bolhuis, told Radio Islam that Crime begets crime; the cycle of crime perpetuates itself as perpetrators act with impunity, emboldening them to escalate their offences.

“A lot of these quick flash criminal activities are usually people in the drug trade or using drugs. It is very opportunistic. Other criminals might jump on the bandwagon and do the same. They can because you are helpless, then suddenly there is a gun in your face, and that is the concern. But these people are easily caught because they are in the intersections and on the highways,” he said.

He commended the swift response of the police in addressing the situation but expressed hope that such incidents would cease.

Bolhuis cautions motorists against using cellphones while driving, particularly at intersections and during traffic congestion.

“This is not isolated; this doesn’t happen a lot on a stretch of highway; it’s usually at intersections and spots with signage warning that this is hijacking hotspots or crime hotspots. Unfortunately, this won’t decline; people need to be vigilant, don’t have anything on their seats, and have a compartment where they can hide laptops and belongings. Don’t have jewellery and expensive watches that can draw attention, especially refrain from making phone calls or showing your phone. It is very easy for a smash grab.

Bolhuis advised that in such a situation, it’s crucial to remain vigilant and assess your surroundings. Ensure your vehicle is locked, but avoid making direct eye contact if a gun is pointed at you through the window. Instead, loudly convey, “We are aware of these robberies, and we don’t have valuables in the car.” While this tactic may not guarantee safety, it could deter the assailant from further inspection and prompt them to move on swiftly.

The incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of vigilance and heightened security measures, particularly during peak travel times.

LISTEN to the full interview with Ml Sulaimaan Ravat and Private investigator Mike Bolhuis, here.




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