Car dealers warned after being taken for a ride by hijackers

Second-hand car dealers have been targeted by ‘customers’ who revealed themselves to be hijackers on test drives.
Image: 123RF/Andriy Sarymsakov

Second-hand car dealerships on the N12 in Klerksdorp have been warned to be cautious when approached by prospective clients after recent hijacking incidents in the North West.

In one of the incidents, potential buyers asked to test-drive a bakkie, accompanied by the salesperson of the dealership.

“During the test-drive, the suspects suddenly stopped at a deserted road, pointed a firearm at the victim, instructed him to get out of the bakkie and drove off. The dealership had no information available on the alleged clients,” said police spokesperson Col Adéle Myburgh.

“Dealerships are requested to ensure they have a signed indemnity form completed by the prospective client, that includes a copy of their identification document, motor vehicle licence and thumb print, before granting a test-drive.”

Police in the province also sounded a warning about responding to online advertisements, especially for livestock and vehicle sales in Makwassie, Leeudoringstad, Boskuil, Wolmaransstad and Jouberton.

In an incident this month at Jouberton, a potential client saw an advertisement for an Avanza vehicle on Facebook. He phoned the seller and arranged to meet him. During the first meeting it was agreed that the buyer would pay cash and test-drive the vehicle.

“He returned later the same day, accompanied by three friends. When meeting the seller in Jouberton, the seller and his friends were surrounded by a group of about 14 people, armed with firearms and pangas. They were robbed of a substantial amount of cash and their personal items, such as cellphones, were stolen, before they were allowed to leave the scene,” said Myburgh.

Police tips on how to avoid becoming a victim when responding to online advertisements:

• Don’t meet strangers at your home or in strictly residential areas. Meet in a nearby shopping area, a grocery store, fast-food restaurant parking lot or police station.

• Make sure the area is busy and filled with lots of people. Daytime is better. If you must meet after dark, make sure the area is well lit and there are lots of people around.

• It’s a good idea to bring a friend, or even two. Let other friends or family know your plans. Have them check on you at a specific time after the meeting, if you don’t call them first.

• Have your cellphone with you.

• If you are selling or buying something and become suspicious of the buyer or seller for any reason, don’t let them in your car, leave immediately. Your safety is more important than being polite.

• Do not carry a large amount of cash. Leave immediately if the advertised product is not at the agreed place.

• If you are robbed, give the suspects the property they demand. Your life is more valuable than your property.

BY TIMESLIVE

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