Candace Davidson was a recent victim of a smash-and-grab in Cato Manor recently. Picture: Zainul Dawood
She was one of three women who fell victim to smash-and grab-robberies in the same spot last week alone. The area has become a hot spot for smash-and-grabs, with women being targeted in slow-moving traffic.
Captain Chris Sibiya, of Cato Manor police station, confirmed that several victims’ handbags had been found dumped in the same spot with most of their belongings still inside. In most cases, police found the bags dumped in thick bush.
Sibiya said it was believed that the criminals came from the nearby informal settlement.
“They use a spark plug to smash the window of unsuspecting motorists when they see something they want from the car,” he said.
The station had mounted an awareness campaign to alert motorists not to place handbags, laptops and cellphones where criminals could see them from outside vehicles.
“Working with the local community safety volunteers, we distribute pamphlets with tips on how to avoid smash-and-grabs,” he said.
The woman watched helplessly as the culprit ran into the bushes with her handbag.
“It all happened so fast. I was driving in slow-moving traffic and suddenly I heard a bang and saw my passenger window smashed to pieces and my bag was gone,” she recalled.
She was traumatised as she was unable to phone anyone for help as the thief had taken her cellphone.
As fearful as she was, and doing her best not to cry, she drove straight to Cato Manor police station where she opened a case.
“I was angry. All I wanted were my important documents. I wished he could have taken what he wanted and thrown my bag back at me,” she said.
While at the police station, she heard that she had a better chance of finding her handbag if she searched the bushes near the scene.
“Apparently, the criminals take whatever they want, then dump the bag in the bushes before hitting another victim,” she said.
But she was too scared to go into the bushes to search on her own.
Instead, she drove straight home to tell her husband what had happened.
“As it was late, my husband decided that he would look for the bag the next morning. I could not sleep that night thinking about all my documents. I only had R200 cash in my wallet. All I wanted back were my bank cards, ID documents and my driver’s licence. I knew that the attacker would take the cellphone and money, but I prayed that I would find my bag. Fortunately, I was one of the lucky ones and my husband found my stuff in the bushes.”
Last Thursday, a woman successfully fought off smash-and-grab robbers at the same spot.
Candace Davidson hung on to the straps of her handbag when a thief smashed her car window and tried to grab it.
Another woman was stabbed on her hand at the same spot and on the same day as Davidson. Her attackers stole her jacket.
Source: IOL – Crime
Relieved smash-and-grab victim finds her handbag, documents dumped in bushes