[WATCH] Suspects smash stolen bakkie through Cradlestone Mall’s boom gate

A security guard tries in vain to spike the Gonçalves family's bakkie's tyres after suspects had stolen it. Image: Screenshot of video.

A family’s brand new Toyota Hilux bakkie was stolen out of Cradlestone Mall’s basement parking area on Sunday, 26 February at about 11am.

The Gonçalves family visited the mall on that day to get new spectacles for their five-year-old daughter. A while after leaving their vehicle in the parking area, they received a phonecall from their vehicle tracking company, Bidtrack, informing them that their vehicle’s battery had been disconnected.

Gabriel Gonçalves, owner of the bakkie, ran to the place where he had parked and found the spot empty. He realised that their bakkie had been stolen. Frantically, he called Bidtrack once again to find out where his bakkie was.

A mall security officer saw the distressed couple, approached them, and escorted them to the control room. The family approached the room and noticed a Flying Squad vehicle parked outside.

“My husband asked if the officers near the vehicle could help us, to no avail,” said Sarah Gonçalves.

Meanwhile, Gonçalves was on the phone speaking to Bidtrack’s assistants.

After he rang off, the Gonçalves family was invited into the control room where they viewed CCTV footage of their bakkie being stolen.

Video posted by Sarah Gonçalves on the Krugersdorp Community Forum group on Facebook.

Hi Everyone. This was on Sunday the 26th of February at cradlestone mall around 11:30 am. Our bakkie was stolen all under 15 mins. Please be on the lookout. And be safe. Luckily my family and I were not hurt.

Posted by Sarah-Kimberlè Gonçalves on Thursday, 2 March 2017

The video shows the Hilux slowly approaching the basement boom-gate at the exit. Suddenly the driver speeds up and drives through the boom. The guard tries to spike the wheels with a manual spiking device, but the bakkie’s wheels ripped the device out of his hands and sped off.

“By this time I was in tears, because I was so angry that nothing was being done to help us,” Sarah said. “Then I was told that I was rude and no one was going to assist me.”

The security officer told the couple that remote jamming devices did not work in the parking area and they had no idea how the suspects opened and started the vehicle.

The couple paused the meeting to take their five-year-old to the bathroom, but when they returned, they found the officers had left.

“I was so exhausted and my kids were getting uncomfortable, so I called my brother-in-law to take us home.”

The family opened a case of car theft at Muldersdrift Police station soon after the incident.

“I will never go to that mall again,” said Sarah. “Not because my car was stolen there, but because I was treated so badly by those who were supposed to help us. I mean, what if we’d been hijacked with my kids still in the car?”

Sarah said she had considered suing the mall, but she feels that she should rather warn the community about the dangers.

“Be vigilant all the time,” said Sarah. “The dangers of small spaces like parking lots could threaten your entire family and things happen too quickly to control.”

Cradlestone Mall’s management was approached for comment and stated that they were aware of the incident and that security at the mall remains vigilant.

“Safety of shoppers continues to be of utmost priority to us,” read the statement from the management.

The vehicle has not been retrieved.

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Bianca Pindral

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