High speed chase after shoplifting in St Francis

  • Article by Bev Mortimer

Four alleged shoplifters were arrested after a high-speed chase yesterday on the N2 yesterday, 29 July, following a shoplifting incident at Tops store in St Francis Bay.

The suspects were arrested for being in possession of allegedly stolen clothes with shop security tags on them, and valued at R8200. A fifth person carrying a big bag was arrested by security officers and prevented from getting into the getaway vehicle outside the Village Square shopping centre. Inside the bag was liquor valued at R1200.

Recounting the incident, the SAPS said a lady from Tops liquor store chased an alleged shoplifter carrying the bag after he walked past the till in the shop and out the shop door. She stopped him in the parking lot. She was then assisted by the security guard.

The incident happened at 2.30 pm, the SAPS said. The local St Francis Bay SAPS received a complaint and were notified of four suspects fleeing in a white Toyota Avanza from St Francis Bay.

The SAPS obtained a description of the getaway vehicle, taken from the town’s security cameras, and this was circulated in all police communication radio channels.

According to Smhart Security’s Carl Trahms, a guy reversed the Toyota, which had black windows, into the shopping centre at Village Square. Five occupants, three men and two women, went into Tops and were looking around and then they made their way back to the car. Four managed to escape in the getaway car but the fifth with the bag was apprehended before he could reach the car.

The SAPs and all security people and police in Humansdorp and surrounds were notified. Photos were sent to all enforcement and security people in Humansdorp.

Smhart security officers stood on the bridge over the N2 at Humansdorp and recognised the vehicle by its registration number. Other Smhart security officers were notified, including Trahms. They rushed onto the highway in their cars and met up with the Thornhill SAPS who had already been notified and were waiting for the getaway car.

When the getaway vehicle came past the Thornhill SAPS raced after it at high speed and pursued it, together with Smhart security officers. “There was a high-speed chase”, the SAPS said, and the car was forced to pull off the road on the N2 near the Hankey off-ramp.

The four occupants were found in possession of the clothing items from various retail stores. “The suspects could not account for the items and were arrested for possession of suspected stolen property. Police impounded the vehicle for further investigation,” the SAPS said.

The five suspects aged between 29-58 are due to appear in the Humansdorp Magistrate’s Court on 2 August 2021, on charges ranging from shoplifting to possession of suspected stolen property, the SAPS added.

Acting District Commissioner, Brig John Lebok commended members for their swift response and the arrest. Police urge shop owners using security tags to not allow bags wrapped in foils or covered with duct tape into their businesses, as a precautionary measure, Lebok said.