PLETTENBERG BAY NEWS - A case of mistaken identity led to a frenzy in Plettenberg Bay as fears of a group of hijackers operating in the town ran rife.
It however turns out that these "hijackers" were not after a car, but rather a lift to a local construction site.
Fears were sparked by two reports of what motorists believed had been attempted hijackings at the town's Airport and Robberg roads intersection in recent weeks.
The reports were similar and involved a group of men running to the motorists' vehicles as they stopped at the intersection, and attempting to open the vehicles' doors. One local reported that when the men realised her doors were locked, they ran towards a "getaway car" nearby and proceeded to follow her for several kilometres.
While he praised the motorists for reporting the incidents, Plettenberg Bay Crime Prevention Association (PBCPA) special operations head Marius Venter said these incidents turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.
Venter said following an extensive investigation, indications are that the men were general workers who tried to catch a "lift"and not hijackers. "We spoke to most of the people who stand on the side of the road in the mornings and evenings. During the questioning, we were informed that most are construction workers waiting on a transport opportunity to home or work. We were informed that when someone stops at that intersection they will run and try to open the doors as they think it's a lift opportunity," Venter said.
He added that the workers told him "first to the door gets the seat". "I tracked the three people who were involved with the first incident and we traced the vehicle mentioned as the getaway vehicle. The three workers confirmed they ran towards the vehicle and tried to get in as they thought it was a lift.
They said the driver sped off and they then saw the grey station wagon and ran to the vehicle. The driver of the second vehicle gave them a lift." Venter also confirmed that the vehicle did not purposefully follow the vehicle before it, but coincidentally had to travel in the same direction.
He thanked the public for their vigilance and for reporting the "uncomfortable experience".
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