Security officer details dramatic chase to bust car thief and find tot

A security officer has told about the dramatic rescue of a toddler who was kidnapped by an opportunistic car thief.

Police say the incident occurred last Friday afternoon when a known criminal hijacked a shuttle outside a preschool in Grabouw and drove off with the frightened two-year-old boy still in the car.

Gordon’s Bay Security (GBS) chief operating officer Heyns de Waal said they got the call after 3pm.

“We received information regarding an (Toyota) Avanza that was allegedly hijacked outside a school in Grabouw, with a two-year-old toddler in it.

“The call was made to GBSEC and Gordons Bay SAPS from Grabouw SAPS because information received indicated that it was travelling in our direction,” De Waal said.

CAUGHT: Police and Gordons Bay Security cornered the Toyota Avanza near Kleinmon

The driver of the vehicle had stepped out but left the keys in the ignition, and the skelm took his chance.

De Waal said they treated the thief like a dangerous criminal: “The last thing we wanted was a shootout or him ramming police vans. We had to stop him on a coastal road.”

He said one of the tracking companies on their network responded to say it was their vehicle, and it was traced to being en route to Kleinmond.

But Kleinmond SAPS missed the car in the pouring rain, and De Waal himself hit the road to follow the suspect.

CAUGHT: Police and Gordons Bay Security cornered the Toyota Avanza near Kleinmon. Pictures supplied

“I went in an unmarked vehicle. I could see where he was driving. I said no matter what happens, I am going to get this child.

“As he passed me, I waited for another vehicle to pass and then I went behind him.”

He tailed the man along the R44, and when he eventually came to a stop, “everyone, including metro police, just surrounded him.”

De Waal says he immediately ran to get the tot.

“My heart stopped when I did not see the child. I then saw the child on the front seat without a seat belt.

“I opened the door, he looked and held his arms out to me. I told him, ‘I am taking you to your mommy, your mommy sent me’ because he kept saying ‘I want my mommy’.”

Hijacked toddler rescued. Picture supplied

He says the little boy was soaking wet with urine but unharmed. The whole drama was over in less than an hour.

It emerged that the suspect was previously arrested for allegedly breaking into a state facility in Grabouw.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi confirmed: “A 27-year-old man was arrested on charges of possession of a stolen motor vehicle, theft of a motor vehicle, and kidnapping of a minor.

“The suspect made a court appearance in the Grabouw Magistrates’ Court on Monday and has been remanded in custody.”

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