On the morning of Monday, 7 July 2014, Thato Motjolopane received a phone call that any significant other dreads: his third wife, Khanyi, had been held at gunpoint while walking down the street.
She was shaken up, but unharmed, and the criminal had made off with her iPhone.
Motjolopane immediately fired up Apple’s online Find My Device application to begin tracking the stolen iPhone, and called up a contact at Pinelands SAPS.
“I rush to her side (knight in tin-foil armour mos!) and within 10 minutes of her call to me, I was there and so was SAPS,” said Motjolopane.
Feeling like superheroes, they jump into a police car and follow the pin on the Find my iPhone map, which was moving along Jan Smuts Drive (or the railway tracks) in Pinelands towards Langa.
Just as they were homing in on the hideout spot “the idiots have a bright spark moment,” Motjolopane said, and turn the iPhone off.
They decide to give up the chase and head back to the station to handle the formalities of reporting the mugging.
“While sitting there, I see the phone come on again,” Motjolopane said. “This time I am quick to put it in Lock Mode so they can’t power off again, and Detective Stellenboem — ready to rock ’n roll — gets additional manpower and off we go.”
This time, when they got to the new location (pictured), Motjolopane said they see “a group of ninjas disperse within seconds.”
He continues tracking the device, which they started hearing in the area where the suspects had gathered.
“We found the device which is now being dusted for prints,” Motjolopane said. “We also managed to get an informant talking and we’re just waiting to pounce on the idiots as soon as they think it’s blown over. ”
Motjolopane said that it’s not every day that such stories get a happy ending, but he wanted to offer his thanks and admiration to the officers at SAPS Pinelands.
“What I saw that day were committed, dedicated gentlemen that are severely under-resourced,” Motjolopane said. “Ons moet ‘n plan maak [We need to make a plan].”