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07 July 2011 at 12:36 - Posted by Anonymous

Brazen robbers on crime spree


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A silver BMW has been used in several crime incidents across Joburg in the past four months  even returning to a previous crime scene to commit a similar offence. This stills footage is from a victims CCTV.

For four months, a silver 3-series BMW has prowled the suburbs of Joburg, its armed occupants committing armed robberies, hijackings and house robberies.

They are so brazen that the robbers, believed to be in their 20s, have even returned months later to rob a victim a second time. They care little for hiding their identities, and have become so notorious that the silver BMW, with its registration plate TKN870GP, has gone viral on the internet.

A Google search on the car’s registration plate produces nearly a thousand results. Most of those results are for community policing forums (CPFs) warning residents to be on the lookout for the car.

It appears the modus operandi of the armed men is to follow their victims home from shopping centres.

The silver BMW’s crime spree began on the night of March 3. This was when the BMW was hijacked from the garage of a Little Falls home. At the time, the vehicle had a different number plate. The owner did not want to reveal his identity.

No one was injured in the incident, and weeks afterwards, CPFs to the west and south of Joburg began recording violent crimes perpetrated by a silver BMW with that registration.

Later it was to emerge that the criminals had cloned the number plate of a similar BMW that had been sitting in a Pretoria car dealership for the past seven months.

On April 15, a Northcliff, Joburg, resident became a victim of the gang after she had driven home from the El Corro shopping centre in Valeriedene. She is so scared the men might return that she, too, doesn’t want her name to appear in The Star.

As she pulled into her driveway, the silver Beemer stopped just behind her.

“One of the men had a balaclava on, but then he took it off. They had been drinking and they smelt of alcohol,” said the woman.

Her two children, aged eight and 17, were also in the car. She believes there were five armed men involved in the attack.

They stripped her of her jewellery and cellphone. “They got away with a nice stash. I happened to be wearing stuff I don’t usually wear,” she said.

The incident was caught on CCTV.

Across the city in Mulbarton, a resident said the BMW had been seen countless times and was involved in at least two house robbery incidents.

On June 4, patrollers from the Mulbarton CPF got close to apprehending the suspects. That evening, the BMW was spotted in Bellairs Drive in Mulbarton. A high-speed chase began through Klipriver Drive into Booysens.

“It had pitch-black tinted windows, but we believe there were four men in the car,” said someone who wished not to be identified.

One of the men pointed a pistol at the pursuing cars, causing them to back off. The car was later lost.

According to the internet, the car has been involved in hijackings, robberies and burglaries in Glenvista, Mulbarton, Glenanda, Little Falls, Rosebank and Lenasia.

Probably the most brazen incident the car has been involved in was when the robbers returned to the house where they initially hijacked the silver BMW. This happened on March 28.

This time the men, wearing balaclavas, drove up to the garage, where the previous owner’s wife was about to reverse out. The previous owner said he recognised the car straightaway.

He said they took wedding rings, cellphones and a watch. The owner said he was frustrated that police seem unable or committed to catch the robbers.

“They just carry on and on. Why can’t the police catch them. I just think they don’t care,” he said. “They would be easy to track down.”

SAPS provincial spokesman Brigadier Neville Malila confirmed that investigators were on the lookout for the men and the car.

“We are looking for three to four guys who have been involved in crimes in the west of Joburg,” he said. – The Star

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