Cops nab hijack 'kingpin' in pre-dawn swoop

01 September 2009 - 17:53 By NKOSANA LEKOTJOLO

THE alleged leader of a gang of hijackers with a penchant for posh cars was nabbed early yesterday morning after evading the police for two years.

Bramley police arrested a man whom they call Alexandra's "most wanted", and an alleged accomplice, in connection with at least 50 crimes.

The 31-year-old man, known as "Maleven", a township nickname, is believed to be the head of a notorious Alexandra gang behind numerous hijackings of Mercedes-Benz and BMW cars in Johannesburg's wealthy northern suburbs .

He faces charges of murder, rape, armed robbery and hijacking in Sandton, Bramley and Sandringham. The alleged offences were committed over a two-year period.

Police spokesman Inspector Moses Maphakela said that, acting on a tip-off, detectives pounced on Maleven's shack in Alexandra at about 4am.

"Maleven was asleep when the police arrived at his place. They surrounded his shack, knocked at his door and [when] his girlfriend opened the door we arrested him," said Maphakela.

His alleged accomplice, a 32-year-old, was arrested minutes later.

He was found in possession of a plasma TV set, worth R11000, thought to have been stolen from a house in Woodmead.

Maphakela said Maleven was wanted for a murder in Hartbeespoort in the North West.

The latest arrests brought to six the number of men alleged to be members of a gang led by Maleven and captured in connection with hijackings and armed robberies in recent months.

One man was arrested when he allegedly tried to hijack a car in December. He was shot once in the buttocks by a police officer when he pointed a gun at the police, said Maphakela.

"The gang was targeting expensive cars and used them as getaway cars when they conducted armed robberies."

"We are hoping to arrest two or three more members of the gang and we will work with North West police to establish if there are more crimes to which they can link Maleven," said Maphakela.

The two men are expected to appear in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court soon.