Police are urging the public to take extra care when using e-hailing taxis after a Steenberg woman reported being assaulted and robbed by a man posing as her driver, and his accomplice, after she caught a ride from Blue Route Mall, last Friday.
The 36-year-old woman had waited outside a mall entrance after hailing the ride using an app on her phone and confirming the identity of both the driver and his vehicle, said Kirstenhof spokeswoman Sergeant Deidre Solomon.
“When a vehicle pulled up at the pick-up point, the victim noticed that the registration number did not match the one that was confirmed on the app. The driver of the vehicle got out, confirmed that he was the taxi, and explained to the victim the reason for the vehicle details being different to the one of the app. She then got into the vehicle
“The driver drove down Tokai Road and stopped just opposite Tafelberg Furnishers in White Road, where a second suspect got into the back of the vehicle with the victim. After the victim enquired what was going on, the driver of the vehicle pulled out a firearm, and the second suspect pulled out a knife and threatened the victim.”
The woman had tried to get out of the vehicle while it was moving but she had been attacked and had sustained cuts to the inside of her hand while trying to protect herself.
She was robbed of her belongings, including R5000 in cash, which she had withdrawn from an ATM in the mall, and her cellphone.
She was then dropped off in Zandvlei where a passer-by came to her aid. She was treated at Melomed Hospital in Tokai for her injuries.
Sergeant Solomon said e-hailing taxis could be convenient, but it was important to take several precautions.
“Double check the car and its registration plate to the one on the app. Confirm that the person behind the wheel is the same as on the profile. Make sure you know where you are going and keep your loved ones in the loop by sharing your estimated time of arrival.”