Pro-active and reactive neighbourhood watch members from the Lenham, Esselen, Crimlen and Sivlen (LECS) sector, are being hailed as heroes by residents of Phoenix for turning the tables on armed hijackers and firing back resulting in the arrest of two suspects and the death of the driver of the getaway vehicle on Friday night on Esselen Crescent.

Police and local security members stood down at the scene surrounded by a large gathering of community members

Speaking to the Phoenix Tabloid, a member of the neighbourhood watch who opted to remain anonymous, said it was time the tide turned on the marauding criminals who have residents under siege in the Phoenix area. “It was like a scene from an action-packed Hollywood production. There was a chase, shootout, crash and arrests.”

“The neighbourhood patrollers were about to engage in a briefing session when the incident unfolded. The four suspects accosted one of the patrollers who was preparing to attend the meeting.

They threatened him and started firing shots. At that point, all the neighbourhood watch patrollers were alerted to the hijacking unfolding and sprang into action. The suspects started firing shots. Patrollers who were armed returned fire. One suspect ran but fired as he fled.

Three suspects drove off in their getaway vehicle but crashed down the road. Two suspects were quickly apprehended by members of the neighbourhood watch, security companies and police, whilst the driver of the getaway vehicle was discovered to be deceased after the vehicle crashed,” said the neighbourhood
watch patroller.

The armed suspects crashed their vehicle into a fence after fleeing at high speed

Phoenix SAPS communications officer, Cpt L Naidoo said, “Four suspects travelling in a vehicle that was hijacked on Avalen Crescent on Tuesday attempted to hijack a man of his VW Polo Vivo on Friday night on Esselen Crescent. Members of the neighbourhood watch confronted the hijackers who shot at the civilians.

The civilians returned fire and the hijackers drove away at high speed. The suspects crashed their stolen vehicle into a fence about 200 metres down the road.” She added, “The driver died on the scene. Two suspects were arrested in the vehicle while the fourth suspect fled from the scene on foot with the firearm according to the suspects that were arrested.

The Hyundai Accent was dusted for prints and DNA by specialized members. The two arrest suspects are being guarded in hospital due to injuries sustained in the crash. Police investigations continue.”
Phoenix CPF chairman, Umesh Singh, commended the neighbourhood watch patrollers for acting swiftly in such a volatile situation.

“This kind of action is indicative of the fact that members of the community are fed up with being ‘sitting ducks.’

They are striving to take back their streets and will not be passive when attacked by criminal forces. It is fortunate that members of the community were not harmed or injured during the course of the incident. Community members are urged to take every precaution and be safe when confronted by ruthless criminals,” said Singh.