Residents of Grassy Park are concerned about reports of a spate of alleged robberies and child abductions within the area that have been making the rounds on social media.
PRO of the Grassy Park Community Police Forum (CPF), Reverend Philip Bam, explained that reports indicate that individuals are driving around the area luring roaming children into their vehicle by promising the child something that would interest him/her.
“Of course, these kids are not very alert and are unable to say no, because they are not adequately trained,” Bam asserted.
He said that once they have successfully lured the child they inquire about valuable items within the homes, after which the individuals would, under the guise of friends of the parents, ‘collect’ the items from the home.
“Sometimes the children freely open the homes and the individuals take whatever they want. They would then drive away with the child and drop the child a distance away, unharmed,” he said.
In the latest incident, a 13-year-old boy, while playing outside, was lured into a white VW Polo.
The boy’s grandfather, who was home at the time, explained that the perpetrators asked for information about the boy’s family.
“They said that my son-in-law had bought an X-box and curved TV and that I should go with them to where the goods were, in the bakkie. I went with them, but instead of dropping me near the bakkie, they took me to a field near Ottery and said that I should wait there while they went to get a car part at the nearest store,” the grandfather said.
The suspects then allegedly returned to the boy’s home, where they told him that they had permission to take the television and computer, and subsequently abducted the teen and dropped him at a location in Pelican Park. The boy then walked home.
No arrests have been made in connection with this case.
Bam asserted that incidents of this nature have occurred on more than one occasion and that the perpetrators have not isolated their activity to Grassy Park since they have been spotted in Lavender Hill and elsewhere.
“But it has been particularly prevalent in Grassy Park. So I think that they may be living in the area or close by, and target the poorer side of the area.”
While it has been difficult for the police to identify the perpetrators or track a number plate, reports indicate that the perpetrators are driving a white VW polo and a green golf.
The incidents occur during 10 and 11am when most residents are heading to work.
Bam said that though the police are doing their utmost to track the perpetrators, many areas continue to lack the manpower to establish efficient neighbourhood watch groups.
“I implore community members to join neighbourhood watch groups, it doesn’t require a lot of work,” he said.
Bam encouraged community members to contact the police if they have spotted suspicious individuals within their areas and further urged parents to educate their children about speaking to strangers and to inform them about the modus operandi of these perpetrators.