R2,5m loot is found as cops nab two suspects

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Police have detained two men in connection with the hijacking of a truck transporting cigarettes and cellphone airtime estimated at R2,5million between Helpmekaar and Newcastle in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Detectives said the truck was hijacked by an unknown number of people on Wednesday night at an intersection.

They then drove it to a homestead at nearby Van Reenen.

The driver of the truck, whose name has not been released, was dumped on the side of the road and he alerted the local police.

Police spokesman Charmaine Struwig said yesterday that an extensive search with the assistance of a tracking company was launched and the truck was found abandoned in a nearby veld.

"The truck was found along the R600, where it had been abandoned.

"The movement of the vehicle was monitored and police were led to a house where we recovered the stolen goods," Struwig said.

She said the two suspects are questioned to establish whether to charge them for possession of stolen goods.

Truck drivers say this is not the first hijacking incident in the area.

They say truck hijackings, particularly those carrying perishable and other goods, are on the increase.

They say the vehicles are normally hijacked on the busy roads that link KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Johannes Mthembu, a truck driver, told Sowetan that the delivery trucks are increasingly targeted by criminals.

"I deliver between cities and the trucks are targets," he said.

"Truck drivers do not want to use the freeways because of the high toll fees.

"And the criminals know this and also know the spots where they can hijack us.

"In fact, truck hijackings happen everywhere in the country," said Mthembu.