Gran theft auto: ouma fights off gun-toting thugs
Reading up on self-defence came in handy for Joburg woman who fended off hijackers
Looking back a week later at the risk she took fighting off hijackers, 63-year-old Annaria Lamprecht of Kibler Park still wonders where she got the courage to take on the gun-wielding men.
It is partly thanks to reading about self-defence and what to do in a hijacking that helped save the day for the granny.
It was just after 1pm last Wednesday when she pulled into a crèche in Alberton, south of Johannesburg, to collect her two grandchildren. For safety reasons, she asked that the crèche not be identified.
She noticed a white Toyota Corolla had tailgated her and before she knew it two men were tapping weapons against the windows on either side, ordering her to get out.
“I told myself that I was not going to give in easily to their demands and I immediately reversed my vehicle and bumped into theirs.”
Lamprecht, who is still visibly shaken, said she doesn’t remember how she got out of her car. But she does remember throwing her handbag and car keys into the crèche yard so the hijackers couldn’t take them.
Meanwhile, the crèche principal, who seconds before had opened the automated gate for Lamprecht, said she noticed from the CCTV camera that something was wrong. Lamprecht’s car was partly blocking her view, but she sensed danger.
“I immediately called our security company, CPS, while banging on the window of my office with the aim of scaring the criminals away. I couldn’t go out because they had guns. I feared for the granny’s life, and in the middle of all that I wanted to make sure that the little ones didn’t see what was happening. I had to protect all the children,” the principal said.
Probably sensing the granny was not going to give up the fight, two of the attackers grabbed Lamprecht’s cellphone and her wedding ring.
“One of them bit my finger as he pulled the ring out. Then they got away.”
The principal said she is glad it was nap time for the babies, and that the older children were in the playground at the back of the building and never noticed what was happening.
She said she feared for Lamprecht’s life while the granny was wrestling with the attackers. “She’s been part of our school for close to four years now. I take her like my own mother, and seeing her fight the criminals the way that she did just left me frightened,” the principal said.
CPS gave chase as the suspects fled down Xavier Street.
CPS spokesperson Tyrone van der Merwe said the suspects got stuck as they tried to bulldoze their way through palisade fencing at the Xavier Junction shopping centre. He suspects the men tried to take a shortcut to the M1.
Together with the Alberton police they arrested four suspects and confiscated four firearms. The men briefly appeared in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on September 21. They remain in custody and will appear in court again on September 28.
Van der Merwe said the vehicle used in the attempted hijacking is believed to have been stolen in Eldorado Park two days before.
Annaria’s husband, Lampies Lamprecht, 68, said he has no idea where she got the strength. “I don’t know where she got the courage to fight those attackers. I am just glad that she is alive. I don’t know what I would have done in that situation.”
For Annaria, things have changed forever. “I wonder if I should still go fetch the kids in the afternoon. I know I was a soft target. I can never trust anyone. I have always gone to fetch my grandchildren, but I don’t think I can any more. They have taken away something I loved to do.”
• Last Thursday, Phuthi Mashala and Patrice Tebela appeared in court after their arrest on September 19, following an intense search by police after they were caught on video allegedly trying to hijack an elderly woman in Alberton weeks earlier.
The video went viral after the woman refused to get out of the car when they ordered her to, after they had tailgated her in her driveway. Instead, she reversed and rammed their car.
The men fled.
Their case has been postponed to October 3 for a formal bail application.