Latest hijacking trend targets SA petrol stations

Latest hijacking trend targets SA petrol stations

Breakfast with Martin Bester spoke to Richard Brussow from the National Hijacking Prevention Academy about the surge of hijackings at local petrol stations.  

A vehicle is being hijacked at a petrol station in Chatsworth
A vehicle is being hijacked at a petrol station in Chatsworth/X Screenshot/@Abramjee

South Africa saw an increase in violent crimes at petrol stations following numerous bombings, shootings, and the murder of Kaizer Chiefs star Luke Fleurs during a car hijacking incident at a petrol station in Florida, west of Johannesburg, two weeks ago.

Martin Bester spoke to hijacking specialist Richard Brussow about what seems to be an increase in these violent crimes, especially at local petrol stations.

Brussow said there has definitely been an increase in hijackings at petrol stations over the past two years, saying that up to about two years ago, filling stations were still considered safe.

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"Robbers would use petrol stations to rather follow victims to their houses. But we've seen a shift where more attacks happened at the stations," said Brussow.

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He added that although there has been an increase, it is still more dangerous to wait in the driveway at home.

The hijacking specialist told Martin Bester that criminals usually target their victims in two ways.

Sometimes, the robber will be waiting around for a victim at a petrol station, but in the case of Luke Fleurs, the robber changes their modus operandi.

"Luke was already at the station when the culprits saw his Golf GTI, and only then it became a target."

What can you do?

Everyone always says to be vigilant, but according to Brussow, it's still difficult when your car is being filled up with fuel, and you are left vulnerable while your vehicle is stationary.

His advice is to "let it go".

"Once you see they pull out that blue or black gun, you should know that they can cause extreme bodily harm."

Brussow reminded people that material things can be replaced, but people and their loved ones cannot.

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Although there isn't a specific time to be wary of hijacking, as it can happen at any time, Brussow says he doesn't like going to petrol stations after 19:30 in the evenings.

Martin Bester also asked the hijacking specialist about scams at petrol stations.

Brussow said that ladies should be vigilant as one of the most regular scams targets women.

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This scam usually involves a woman approaching another lady at a petrol station in the afternoon between 2pm and 5pm.

The woman pretends to be distressed, saying that she has just been robbed, then usually asks the victim if they could possibly phone her husband.

"The phone then just keeps ringing. That is when the woman tells you that she only lives three kilometres from the petrol station."

Victims then usually offer the criminal a ride, which is when the danger starts.

"Once you start driving, they start following you, and then a car pulls up, and she says it's her husband."

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"As soon as they get out, they pull out a gun and take you from ATM to ATM to draw money."

Brussow said women should trust no one in this situation, no matter how old or vulnerable they seem.

Potential victims should tell the scammer that they will phone the police to assist with the situation.  

They will more than likely then make up an excuse and leave the situation.

Tune in to the 'Breakfast with Martin Bester', weekdays from 06:00 - 09:00. Stream the show live here or download our mobile app here. 

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