Drivers in Johannesburg, South Africa are constantly warned to keep their windows closed and eyes straight ahead when stopping at traffic lights. The reason? Hijackers and beggars trying their luck.
Now a 50-second amateur video, which caught the live action of a smash-and-grab, is doing the rounds in South Africa and is rapidly going viral in the process. Apparently the incident happened on January 15 at 18:20 p.m. The video, uploaded by Craig Jennings on January 16, has already seen almost 171,000 views as at the time of writing.
Watching the video above, first of all a beggar can be seen on the side of the road, approaching each vehicle in what looks like a humble manner, waving the vehicles on if they ignore him.
However, finally we see the so-called beggar’s “true colors” when he appears to lose his temper with a white Land Rover Discovery, stuck in a traffic queue on Witkoppen Road in the upmarket Sandton area of Johannesburg.
The man approaches the vehicle, performing his usual begging motions, cupping his hands, asking for food or money, all the while crouching down in a submissive way. The next second he can be seen taking three steps back from the vehicle as he throws an unknown missile directly at the window. The man then throws himself through the passenger window and halfway into the car. It is important to note that in South Africa, the driver sits on the right-hand side of the vehicle.
The camera pans to an advertising banner on the side of the road, imploring people to “do their tax honestly,” and it cannot be seen if the man actually managed to steal anything. It can, however, be seen that the man runs across the road, possibly meeting up with accomplices before jumping over the overpass and disappearing.
According to the description on the video itself, there may actually have been three suspects involved. It says that at the beginning and end of the clip, what could be two “assistants or spotters” can be seen on the other side of the road, looking a tad suspicious.
— eNCA (@eNCAnews) January 20, 2015
East Coast Radio noted how quickly these crimes can occur and warns people not to leave valuable items lying in clear sight in the vehicle.
IOL News quotes André Snyman, founder of eBlockwatch, a community project in South Africa trying to fight crime in the communities. Snyman gets a lot of reports of similar smash-and-grabs on his anti-crime group. Snyman added that this type of crime has increased since people have been allowed by the Johannesburg metro police to sell items at the traffic lights.
“Because of this, drivers close their windows and look straight ahead when they stop at traffic lights to avoid the vendors. The criminals are utilizing this opportunity.”
One Twitter user tweeted that he saw the same guy, in the same place, on January 20.
— Rob Byrne (@TrafficSA) January 20, 2015
A group called “Arrive Alive” has offered a set of tips to drivers who might encounter this kind of crime, warning them to lock their doors and be alert at all times, especially at intersections.
One tip advises that should a driver see obstacles like rocks or tires in the road, they should reverse and go in the opposition direction. If they are traveling late at night, they are advised to slow down until the light turns to green, then speed through the intersection, preferably avoiding the need to stop altogether.
In other news about South Africa, the Inquisitr recently reported on the case of a murder-suicide at a Johannesburg police station, where a husband shot his wife and then turned the gun on to himself.
[Image: Screengrab from video]