Hijacked at gunpoint within seconds

PHOTO for illustration only

“IT took seconds.”

That’s the word from Toti resident, Pieter van der Merwe who had a gun shoved against his temple and his white Chevy utility bakkie hijacked in under a minute on Tuesday, 9 February at 9pm.

The two hijackers struck when Pieter pulled up in front of his father-in-law’s home in the bakkie, which was covered in Cool Perfection signwriting, in Mopani Road to pick up his daughter.

“I thought something was off when I turned off Seadoone Road. There was a car standing stationary in the middle of the road, and the driver was standing outside, looking at me while talking on his cellphone as I drove around him,” said Pieter.

Distracted by that car, which slowly drove off towards Elgro flats, Pieter only noticed at the last minute an older shape, white Toyota Corolla (partial registration number starting with ND44) which pulled up from the other side. “As they stopped behind me, out of absolutely nowhere, I heard a gun being cocked and felt the shove of the barrel against my temple,” he explained.

I’m 100% convinced the guy driving tried to shoot, as I heard the gun click.”

The gunman pulled him out of the van and got behind the wheel. As Pieter was pulled from the car, the other hijacker took his wallet and tried to wrestle his cellphone out of his grip. “I was a bit stronger and yanked it away from him. I took a swing at him. I’m 100% convinced the guy driving tried to shoot, as I heard the gun click.”

Within seconds the men were in the car and speeding off in the direction of KwaMakhutha. Pieter and his in-laws set off after them but failed to find them. It happened so quickly that Pieter’s sister and brother-in-law saw him stop outside the gate and were going to fetch a remote to open, when they saw a man get into his car. “The whole thing took about 20 and 30 seconds,” said Pieter.

“I’ve always been one of those guys who was convinced that I’d react differently but the reality was it happened so quickly, there was nothing I could do.”

The vehicle’s tracking device was activated, and they noticed the bakkie stopped several times before being abandoned at the roadside in KwaMakhutha. It was recovered an hour later, having been stripped of all Pieter’s tools and spares. His wallet containing an insurance payout of R6,500 and all his cards and licenses were gone.

Urging residents to be more vigilant, he warns motorists to drive off if they notice something suspicious as they’re about to turn into their property. “Don’t wait in front of gates and don’t drive with your window open.”

He’s convinced both vehicles were involved, and that the hijackers use the modus operandi of distracting you while the other approaches from other side.

Earl Baillache

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