Crime & Court

Crime Watch: Beware Of Grab And Run Thieves

Bus companies have also said that similar incidents have happened in Nabua. The target would be passengers seated towards the front seat, unaware of who is getting off.
16 Nov 2019 12:20
Crime Watch: Beware Of Grab And Run Thieves

Commuters beware.

Members of a loosely organised crime gang are robbing fellow minibus passengers.

They hang around the minibus base in Suva looking for potential targets.

Once they identify them, usually women, they board the same vans.

Last week, a smartly dressed young man had picked Fiji Sun journalist Wati Talebula as a target.

He boarded the van that was heading to Nausori. Ms Talebula was going to Nadawa, Nasinu.

At Nabua, the young man got off. As he disembarked, he grabbed Ms Talebula’s phone case which contained $200 and her phone and ran off into the night and disappeared.

It happened so suddenly that everyone was taken by surprise. Attempts to stop him failed.

The incident is not the first to have happened at the same place and about the same time.

The offenders get off opposite Ratu Sukuna Memorial School, grab an item and run through crosscuts.

Similar incidents have also been reported at the bus stop, at the  Nabua shopping area.

Ms Talebula said: “I was on my way home when this happened to me early morning. Apparently, I was not the first victim.

“This is embarrassing because an iTaukei is doing it to one of his own. To the young man who did this, I would have given you money if you had asked for it, but too bad you had to do something like that. You will be happy for a short time because you were able to grab a phone but definitely not for a long time.

“To parents, please let’s work together to ensure that our children get educated so that they can buy things for themselves instead of trying to gain from someone else’s hard work.”

Rusila Tagi was in a minibus bound for Nausori on November 2. She said she was lucky that it was not her that fell, victim.

“I was sitting two seats behind the driver. I was dozing off as well. All I recall is the woman sitting in front of me shouting ‘butako’ (stealing),” she said.

“I gathered that a young man getting off the minibus grabbed a phone belonging to a lady seated in the seat in front me as he was getting off.

“He ran into the settlement next to the bus stop.”

John Fremlin, a regular commuter said he had noticed this happening as well at the same spot.

“It’s been happening for the last two years. In one case, I was in the van when a young man came next to the bus and grabbed a hat off the head of a girl seated at the window seat next to the road.”

Bus companies have also said that similar incidents have happened in Nabua. The target would be passengers seated towards the front seat, unaware of who is getting off.

The two spots are chosen because of the ‘short cuts’ available in the area. The bus stop opposite Ratu Sukuna Road has paths which branch into Sukanaivalu Road.

The bus stop near the former State Theatre has a ‘short cut’ into Vuna Road behind the shops and then from there into the several other paths which make it hard to follow.

Rajnesh Lal, a resident of Vuna Road for almost 30 years, said while there were these theft cases, the figures were not as many as before.

“People used to get robbed there and were hassled for money. There were even people selling drugs there.

“I think more Police patrol should do the trick.”

Questions have been sent to Police regarding the incident.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce


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