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08 July 2011 at 08:49 - Posted by Anonymous

Smash-and-grabber escapes


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These two suspects who were arrested on the corner of Proes and Andries after threatening a motorist with a knife. Picture: Sarah Makoe

A suspect arrested this week after motorists were robbed at the notorious intersection of Proes and Andries streets has escaped. Now police have launched an investigation into how he did it.

The suspect made his dash for freedom as he was being taken to the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Thursday. He and an accomplice were arrested by undercover detectives on Tuesday after a motorist was threatened with a knife before he was robbed of his cellphone.

The driver, Kurt Erasmus, 26, had stopped at the intersection at about 3.45pm when he was robbed.

Pretoria Central police spokeswoman Sergeant Ann Poortman said on Thursday it was not clear how the suspect escaped, adding that the matter was being investigated.

The other suspect, Mpho Kgoabane, 26, briefly appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

He was denied bail and would stay in custody as there was a warrant out for his arrest in connection with another crime, said Poortman.

She confirmed that the suspect who escaped had three warrants out for his arrest.

Contacted about the escape, Erasmus said: “If he was on his way to court, why was he not cuffed?”

He said he used the Proes and Andries streets intersection regularly and was worried about his safety. “What if they recognise me the next time I drive by?”

Poortman again urged motorists to be careful, to watch out for suspicious-looking characters and to keep their doors locked and windows closed.

Anyone who recognises the suspect, 27, or has information that could assist police in the investigation, has been asked to phone Warrant Officer Elmond Mthethwa at 073 780 8437.

* Meanwhile, quick-thinking on Thursday by a pregnant woman saved her from becoming a victim of a smash-and-grabber, who is apparently operating along Proes Street.

The woman, who had to receive medical attention after the incident, had stopped at a traffic light, just off Andries Street, when a man threatened to shoot her if she did not hand over her cellphone.

René Ferreira, who is 32 weeks pregnant, said she was on her way to work in the city centre at about 9.40am. Her car was the third from the traffic lights.

“This man banged on my (driver’s) window which was half open.

“He could not smash it,” she said.

The man screamed at her and ordered her to hand over her cellphone which was on her lap.

“I told him that he was not going to get my cellphone. He threatened to shoot me if I did not hand it over,” said Ferreira, adding that the man showed her what looked like a gun.

She said the motorist who was in front of her saw what happened and moved to the side of the road, allowing her to sneak through.

Ferreira said the man was middle-aged and had a scar.

She called police, but the man escaped. - Pretoria News

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