police smash car theft sydicate

FOR two years Sello Jafta Mookang, a suspected car hijacking kingpin, has stayed two steps ahead of the police, and the car dealers whose vehicles he stole.

FOR two years Sello Jafta Mookang, a suspected car hijacking kingpin, has stayed two steps ahead of the police, and the car dealers whose vehicles he stole.

On a cool night almost two months ago an unsuspecting Mookang - one of Gauteng's most brazen car thieves - was on his way to an romantic outing with his girlfriend when he drove into a roadblock. He was behind the wheels of a stolen gold Mini Cooper on Rivonia Road in Sandton when the police stopped him.

Since February 18 he and two of his accomplices have been languishing in police cells, awaiting their next court appearance. They have been denied bail.

The police confirmed yesterday that Mookang, who was out on parole for similar crimes, is in custody in connection with the theft of R12 million worth of cars from a new vehicle delivery company.

Two of his accomplices were arrested on February 17 in Weltevreden Park in Randburg, Johannesburg, after an anonymous tip-off put the police firmly on their trail.

The tip-off came exactly 10 days after Sowetan published an article in which Mookang's prolific car theft streak was brought to light.

Henry Beukes, whose company Motorvia suffered the R12 million loss, said the tip-off led them to a house in Weltevreden Park, where three cars were found.

Among the cars discovered was a blue BMW 1 series that was reported stolen on February 1 at a Randburg dealership.

Beukes claimed Mookang admitted stealing an Audi A6 on February 2 from a Fourways dealership, a BMW from Clearwater BMW as well as a Kia SUV, allegedly stolen in Edenvale on the East Rand.

Captain Josua Diedericks of the Soweto trio task team, which also worked with the Krugersdorp vehicle unit, confirmed that "three men were arrested in connection with the theft of numerous vehicles in and around Johannesburg".

Sowetan reported how, using a new modus operandi, Mookang stole the cars.

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