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MBABANE – Lobamba police officers had a drama-filled morning yesterday when they apprehended a man who allegedly stole a Toyota Quantum and later attempted to steal a police vehicle.

Victor Dlamini, who drives a Quantum that services the Mbabane/Manzini route, said he first thought it was one of his colleagues fooling around when he saw the vehicle being driven off at high speed. The incident happened at around 7.30am near Mahhala, while the vehicle was waiting for customers. Dlamini said he had parked the public transport vehicle at Mahhala like all other kombis and was waiting for customers to board the vehicle. He then decided to get out of the Quantum and walked around it to open the passenger door. When he had just opened the door, he saw a person he did not recognise get into the driver’s seat and he drove off while the Quantum passenger door was wide open.The other public transport operators then got into their vehicles and chased after Dlamini’s Quantum as they noticed that the person taking it was unknown to them. It was during the chase that the public transport operators saw a traffic police vehicle and they flagged it down and reported what had happened.

When the Quantum approached the off-ramp towards Ezulwini Police Post, the suspect decided to turn abruptly, causing an accident with another Quantum driven by Siyabonga Dlamini. The suspect then abandoned the Quantum and decided to flee on foot. At that time, the other public transport operators were behind him as they parked their vehicles and gave chase to the suspect as he tried to escape. It did not take long for them to apprehend the suspect, who was bundled into a police vehicle for safety purposes while the cops tried to calm down the angry transport operators who were baying for his blood. The suspect had been left alone in the police sedan. He later jumped onto the driver’s seat of the police vehicle, probably in an attempt to drive off. However, the police were quick to notice this and they stopped him before he could drive off. “He drove the Quantum with the passenger door wide open. This man did not look sane as he then jumped into the driver’s seat of the police car and luckily the police were standing next to the car and they stopped him on his tracks. When he was asked questions, he could not even respond why he had taken the vehicle,” Dlamini said.

The traffic police officers and those from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) found at the scene, were heard commenting that the charge of theft of a motor vehicle would have to be opened in Matsapha, as the drama had started in that area. Superintendent Khulani Mamba, the Chief Police Information and Communications Officer confirmed the incident and the arrest of the suspect. Mamba stated that the suspect would be charged with more than one count as he committed a lot of offences while fleeing. “The suspect is a 32-year-old man from Mhlaleni and he is now in our custody. There were two Toyota Quantums which were involved in the accident but no passengers were on board,” Mamba said.   

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