Breakthrough: Four arrested after targeting tourist vehicle

Eileen van der Schyff

Four suspects were nabbed in Walvis Bay on Saturday, shortly after they broke into a locked car of a South African tourist at the lagoon. The thugs were fleeing the scene in a black Golf GTI with a Windhoek registration mark.

In fact, the vehicle is registered in the name of one of the accused. The vehicle was parked near the Flamingo Villas hotel when the thugs targeted it, stealing various items and cash amounting to N$24 800.

Thanks to a well-coordinated operation the Namibian Police located the vehicle and the suspects. Belongings of the tourist, who was identified as Mr. Frans Pretorius, were found in the thugs’ possession. Only cash was missing, but according to Deputy Commissioner Erastus Iikuuyu, the Namibian Police’s spokes-person in Erongo, there are realistic chances the cash would also be recovered.

The four made a first appearance in the Walvis Bay magistrate’s court yesterday. They were identified as Herold Ipinge (29), Immanuel Junior (28), Werner Iiyambo (29) and Ian Harind (26).

Arrangements were made yesterday for Pretorius to testify before, in order for him to proceed with his holiday program.

The arrest of the four thugs came only days after 28-year-old Lukas Shoombe was sentenced to one-year imprisonment without the option of fine, after he targeted a tourist in the Walvis Bay central business district last Tuesday snatching a bag. Shoombe’s luck ran out as the police and members of the public gave chase.

Approximately twenty-four hours later the jail door slammed shut behind him.

Several incidents have taken place in recent weeks where tourists were the targets. That include incidents at Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, on the C14 gravel road to Sossuvlei and in southern Namibia where a self-drive tourist couple were forced off the road and robbed and a couple attacked in their guest house room.

Accommodation establishments, car rental agencies and tour operators are requested to inform their tourists of the latest trends, in the interest of their [the tourists’] safety and also to protect Namibia’s good name as a safe tourist destination.

Visitors need to be informed never to leave vehicles unattended, specifically with items in the car that can lure criminals. It is also advisable for visitors who are on self-drive tours to adopt the convoy system of traveling, to be protected by the numbers. It is a practical approach, since the tourist destinations are usually serviced by a single road.



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