Movie prop cop car causes a stir on the West Rand
Two people working for a film production company had some explaining to do after being stopped in a fake police van in Florida at the weekend.
According to Piet Ungerer from WF Security he was on patrol in the suburb on the West Rand on Saturday when he saw the van with the SA Police Service blue and yellow signage, but something did not feel right.
He spotted that it had GP registration plates, unlike the usual "B" at the end of police van licence plates. He had it checked and it turned out to be licensed to a rental company.
That piqued his interest even more.
"I could not just ignore it. It was going to bother me for the rest of the day. If a crime was committed with it, I would kick myself and think 'I could have just made that call'," he told News24 on Sunday.
He followed the van from a distance, suspecting the occupants might members of one of the blue light gangs which stop people under the pretext of being police officers, then rob them.
He called the police and when they stopped in Goldman Street near the Spar to use an ATM, he questioned them.
The police also arrived and the startled man and woman explained that the van was a prop for a film.
But they were not off the hook yet and the car was taken in by police for this explanation to be confirmed.
Ungerer said he was concerned that the movie people were not aware of the legislation regarding police signage, and also of the alarm and potential danger.
"The police explained to them that certain procedures have to be followed for movie props like that. They should be escorted when they drive in public, and it should be covered when not in use.''
"It looks like a cloned car," said Ungerer. "We would like to know where they [fitted out] the car, because it was a good job."
But it was not perfect. In places some of the signage had come off and the blank spots covered with paper.
Ungerer was also concerned that if the prop was not used and stored in strict compliance with the law, it could be stolen and used to commit a crime.
A spokesperson for the Florida SAPS was not immediately available to comment.
Ungerer said he did not know which film the car would be used in.