Limpopo police arrested a 35-year-old man while he was trying to smuggle a stolen Toyota Fortuner out of South Africa to Zimbabwe via the Beitbridge border.
Brigadier Hlulani Mashaba, provincial spokesperson for the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Limpopo said the fight against smuggling of stolen motor vehicles in the province “by the industrious men and women in blue” continues to yield positive results.
“A 35-year-old male suspect was apprehended in the Mokopane policing precinct by members of the provincial tracking team in collaboration with private security and an investigation company on Tuesday, October 31,” said Mashaba.
The law enforcement agencies sprang into action after the SAPS crime intelligence unit at Lebowakgomo provided information about a stolen silver-grey Toyota Fortuner which was reportedly stolen last week Wednesday, in Benoni, Gauteng.
“The motor vehicle was reportedly travelling along the N1 public road from Johannesburg heading to Beitbridge border post and an intelligence-driven operation was conducted to locate it. The Toyota Fortuner fitting the description was spotted, and forced to stop at Nyl Plaza Tollgate,” said Mashaba.
“A 35-year-old South African male from Springs was immediately arrested on the spot for possession of a stolen motor vehicle.”
Preliminary investigations revealed that the 35-year-old man was previously arrested last year in the Marble Hall policing area while he was intending to smuggle another Toyota Fortuner to Zimbabwe. However, police said that case was later withdrawn in court.
“In addition, it is alleged that last week, he also managed to smuggle a Toyota Fortuner to Zimbabwe via the Beitbridge port of entry,” said Mashaba.
“Further information indicated that he had links with a known suspect who was arrested this year, during September month in possession of a stolen Toyota Hilux bakkie while also attempting to smuggle it to Zimbabwe.”
The man caught with the stolen Toyota Hilux bakkie in September is set to appear before the Mokopane Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, facing charges of possession of stolen motor vehicle.
Meanwhile, provincial commissioner of SAPS in Limpopo, Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe has expressed “delight” regarding the “sterling work that is continuously displayed by the police” in combating the smuggling of stolen motor vehicles in the getaway province.
The 35-year-old man, who was found with the Toyota Fortuner stolen in Benoni is expected to appear before the Mokopane Magistrate’s Court on an unspecified date, facing charges of possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
Last week, IOL reported that a 34-year-old Zimbabwean man, Loaded Maguta, was remanded in custody when he appeared before the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court for possession of a stolen vehicle, a Toyota Fortuner.
The popular sport utility vehicle was reported stolen at Garsfontein, in Pretoria East.
At the time, Mashaba said Maguta appeared in court on Wednesday, and was remanded in custody.
Maguta, who was nabbed near the Beitbridge border post on Monday last week, is also linked to a vehicle smuggling syndicate operating between Gauteng and Limpopo, according to SAPS.