From the news desk

Kids abducted as burglary decoys

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A syndicate is suspected to be behind house robberies and kidnappings that have been taking place in Grassy Park and other areas in the southern suburbs.

In the past two months, there have been at least three incidents reported in Grassy Park and Steenberg.

Grassy Park Community Policing Forum chairman Philip Bam said the syndicate, which is believed to operate in VW Golf vehicles, apparently sources information from children in order to gain entry to the home.

“There have been reports of people in a blue Golf enticing children with promises of PlayStations etc. The kids are gullible and will go when such offers are made. Invariably they are not forced but coerced with the enticing offers,” Bam said.

The syndicate then clears the house once they have gained access. They also take the children with them. The children are often dropped off near their homes a few hours later, unharmed, said Bam.

“I don’t know why they take the children with and for what exact reasons. Whether it is to distract the family from following up on the stolen goods, focus them on the missing children, or what,” Bam said.

The latest incident took place on Monday, where a 13-year-old boy was lured into a car and then dropped off in neighbouring Pelican Park.

The teen’s grandfather, who was home with him at the time, said two men in a white VW Golf had called the boy, who was playing outside, and asked for information about the family.

They then entered the boy’s home and lied to the grandfather by posing as furniture shop employees who had come to deliver items at the house, but their bakkie was stuck a few streets away.

The grandfather said: “They said 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 side and said I should wait there, while they went to get a car part at the nearest car part store.”

It is alleged that after dropping off the grandfather, the suspects went back to the teen and told him they had permission to take the TV and computer. They then abducted the teen and left him in Pelican Park.

“When I realised that this was a scam I started walking back home, rushing because I was worried about what they will do to my grandson,” the grandfather said.

After the 30 minutes, the grandfather called for help.

The boy returned home two hours later after walking from Pelican Park.

“We were so happy to see him; everyone was in tears. It is very sad to realise that our children are not safe even in our homes. What if they come back for us?”

the grandfather asked. “We don’t even talk about the incident here at home.”

Police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut said no arrests have been made.

He confirmed a similar incident using the same modus operandi was reported in the Grassy Park area two months ago.

The robbery and abduction took place in a house in Lotus River and a blue VW Golf was used.

Bam said: “The suspects took valuable items inside the house and took the minor and drove off with him. They apparently went to another house and a minor was also at home and they stole a television.”

Bam said in Steenberg, on the same day, the same modus operandi was used to abduct two boys while a laptop was stolen.

The Grassy Park CPF has also posted a warning on social media platforms alerting parents of the syndicate.

The post reads: “Parents please train your children not to get into cars with strangers, no matter what the stranger says. Let them understand you will not send a stranger.”

[Source: Cape Argus]
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