Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Everyday Tow Hero In South Africa

MAN ON THE SPOT ... Bodyman Auto-Towing owner Anton Kleinhans crouches at the spot in Heugh Road where he witnessed a tourist being robbed in the early hours of Sunday morning. He then tracked down the robbers. Picture: BRIAN WITBOOI

Round of applause to towing company owner Anton Kleinhans of Bodyman Auto-Towing in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, for coming to the rescue of a young British tourist!
Here's the story from The Weekend Post Online (audio available at the website):

THE owner of a towing company who chased the thieves of a British tourist’s handbag at the weekend, spoke yesterday of his role in the arrest of four men.

The men were arrested early on Sunday after robbing a young tourist and attempting to rob another nightclub patron in Walmer.

Anton Kleinhans, owner of Bodyman Auto-Towing, saw the robbery and chased the thieves to Central, where he contacted police who made the arrests.

The tourist’s handbag was recovered and the men are set to appear in court this week.

Kleinhans said he and his wife, Elmarie, were patrolling Heugh Road, Walmer, at about 2.15am on Sunday when he drove past a young woman walking down the road by herself.

“She was wearing black shorts and high heels and was carrying a handbag. I said to my wife it was dangerous for her to be walking around so late by herself, so I made a U-turn at Sixth Avenue to see if she needed any help,” Kleinhans said.

He said the woman was walking between Third and Fourth avenue when a yellow Toyota Tazz stopped next to her and two men got out of the car.

“The two men grabbed her bag. She pulled it back. Then they pushed her to the ground. It was about 10 seconds after I had made the U-turn.”

Kleinhans said the two men then fled on foot while the vehicle sped down Heugh Road. He decided to chase the vehicle instead of the two men on foot, who had run off in different directions.

“As I was chasing the car I called the police to tell them what had happened. As they drove into Parliament Street I saw two policemen and shouted to them. They took out their firearms and arrested the two men in the Tazz.”

Kleinhans said he then called one of his drivers to check up on the woman who had been robbed. He told him to check near club Balizza, as he assumed the woman had been walking from there.

“He found her with a friend at the club and she was in tears. Her friend then brought her to the Humewood police station where the two arrested men had been taken.

“I called her phone number and a policeman from Walmer answered. He said the men who had fled on foot had also been arrested.”

Kleinhans said the robbers on foot were hiding in a Heugh Road bus shelter when police drove past and then turned back. The two men were about to rob another Balizza patron when police caught them in the act.

“It turned out that the young woman who was robbed is a tourist from London.

“She had parked her car at the Crazy Zebra and was walking back to her car from Balizza when the robbery occurred.

“She said that in London it was not that dangerous to walk alone that time of the morning.”

Police spokesman Inspector Hazel Mqala confirmed that four men had been arrested on a charge of common robbery.

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