2006-10-10 : Hijacker shot dead, two wounded in cash heist

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2006-10-10 : Hijacker shot dead, two wounded in cash heist

Postby GOSA » Thu, 2006-10-12 12:40

http://www.theherald.co.za/herald/news/n01_10102006.htm

Hijacker shot dead, two wounded in cash heist

By Derrick Spies Safety and Security Reporter

A GANG of hijackers ran amok through the streets of Port Elizabeth yesterday in a dramatic crime spree that left one dead, three wounded and a trail of blood and smashed cars.

In an ill-fated caper reminiscent of a Hollywood movie ­ but far more terrifying for Salt Lake residents ­ three hijackers began their spree by ramming into the bakkie of a tavern owner on his way to the bank to deposit his weekend takings.

Shooting him in the stomach and grabbing the money, they then hijacked another car, only to have its driver shoot them as they drove away, killing one and wounding the other two.

The two surviving hijackers then snatched a bakkie, but seconds later the immobiliser kicked in, bringing the vehicle to a standstill.

Desperate to escape, the two then jumped out of the car and ran off, trailing blood, only to return a few seconds later to grab the money they had forgotten and flee into the bush.

Shocked bystanders, who watched in horror as the event played out in Salt Lake, criticised police for their slow response time.

“The police are like a rainbow ­ they‘re only here after the rain,” said one resident.

“My husband had to physically go to the Bethelsdorp police station to fetch the police, because we couldn‘t get any response from 10111.”

Describing the drama, police spokesman Verna Brink said the gang of three, armed with two 9mm handguns and a shotgun, had apparently planned to rob tavern owner Daniel “Snakes” Velkers of his weekend earnings from the tavern, as Velkers was known to do his banking on a Monday morning.

Using a blue Volkswagen Polo they had apparently hijacked in KwaZakhele on Saturday, they slammed into Velkers‘s white Colt bakkie in Harrington Street, shortly after he left his home at around 8.30am yesterday.

“The men jumped out of the vehicle and opened fire on Velkers, who was shot twice in the stomach,” said Brink.

The men grabbed the undisclosed amount of money, but having written off the Polo when they crashed into Velkers, fled the scene on foot.

“It appears that the men made their way up Freeman Street, where they then attempted to hijack a blue Toyota Tazz on the corner of Coetzee Street.

“The owner of the Tazz got out of the vehicle but as it sped off, he drew his own firearm, a registered 9mm, and opened fire into the back of the Tazz,” she said.

Brink said the hijacker who had been driving the Tazz was shot in the back of the head and killed instantly.

Police had not been able to identify the man who had been killed, but estimated that he was around 25 years old.

The two other hijackers were also wounded, with one eyewitness reporting that one of them was shot in the leg and the other had a chest wound.

Brink said the two surviving hijackers fled from the Tazz and hijacked yet another vehicle, belonging to Alliance Plumbers, which they drove up a gravel road in an attempt to get away.

The bakkie, however, was equipped with an immobiliser, and stalled halfway up the gravel road, where the hijackers abandoned it.

“There is evidence that both men were injured, as both the passenger and driver‘s seats were drenched in blood,” Brink said.

The driver of the bakkie, who did not want to give his name, said one of the hijackers actually returned to the bakkie, apparently to retrieve the cash they had left behind, before fleeing into the bushes.

Brink said police had subsequently traced the two men to a nearby taxi rank, where eyewitnesses said they saw them get into a taxi heading to Korsten.

She said police suspected that both were in need of emergency medical treatment, and would head to a hospital or clinic.

Brink said a case of murder and another of attempted murder had been opened against the driver of the Toyota, who could not be named as he had not yet appeared in court.

However, she said the charges were mandatory, as the man had handed himself over to the police, and the case would be reviewed by the director of public prosecutors to establish whether or not to prosecute him.

Velkers has been admitted to the Mercantile Hospital, where he is in a stable condition.
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