Two casualties have taken time to caution drivers about a pack of equipped high school looters who are focusing on autos on the N2 highway near Athlone.
The two men contacted the Daily Voice to say they had been robbed, beaten up and almost killed by teenagers on the N2 outbound off-ramp to Jan Smuts Drive. Both men were robbed of their wallets, identity documents and cash, and nearly lost their lives after the thieves shot at them.
According to the shaken victims, the bandits have a new method to trap drivers into stopping. A 29-year-old victim, who asked to remain anonymous, said he thought he was going to die when his Volkswagen Golf hit a massive log lying in the road, and he saw gunmen rushing out of the bushes.
“I was on my way home from work just after 1am,” he said. “I was coming up the ramp on the second bend on the bridge when I hit this massive log. It was too late to stop. My car just hit the thing and these four boys, no older than 13 or 14, came running out with guns and knives.
“They demanded money, my phone and everything I had of value,” said the traumatised Athlone resident. “I did not hesitate and handed them over. They dragged me out of the car and beat me up, choking me, I thought I was a dead man,”
‘He saved my life’
What saved his life, he said, was a second car, a Ford Bantam bakkie, coming up the ramp.
“I couldn’t drive away, my car wasn’t working, but the guy who came next could see something was going on,” he explained. “These guys went after him, but they just managed to grab stuff off his dash and smash his window. He stopped, I jumped in and he managed to get past my car.”
The two men immediately went to the nearby Athlone police station to lay a charge.
The 63-year-old mother of one of the victims said she was shocked when he called home to say what had happened.
“I was so shocked and then I just got angry,” she said. “Everything my child has, he has worked hard for and these boys almost killed him.”
She urged motorists to be vigilant.
“If you can, take another road. That road is not safe to use, and there won’t always be a person behind you who cares. Thank you for saving my son’s life.”
Athlone police could not confirm that a case had been opened.