20 April 2008

Cruisin' the 'hood

I hate it when the telephone rings late at night or early in the morning. It usually means one of two things, either an emergency or the office alarm has been triggered. This morning at about 04h45 my cell phone rang. By the time I got to it, it had stopped ringing and I saw that there was a missed called from an unlisted number. That is usually the security company. A quick call to them confirmed that they had not phoned us.

"Let's go and check any way", said Suzi-k. So off we went, armed with "Harry" and a large cannister of pepper spray.

It was all quiet at the office, so being spontaneous people we decided to check out the neighbourhood. Off we went to Parliament Street. Usually a hive of activity with people overflowing from night clubs that never close and street parties, with music thumping from car sound systems, it was quiet - only a couple of Omega security guards patrolling the streets. We decided it must be the cold front and the rain that has kept the party goers in-doors. (12C might be a warm day in Canada, but it is cold for us).

Central was quiet for once. Ivy Street, Victoria Street, Donkin Street, Chapel Street, Western Road, Govan Mbeki Avenue - all quiet, except for two souls making their way down the Hill into the city centre. We stopped a the "Phoenix Hotel and Stage Door" and checked out the menu posted on the wall and decided to give it a try one day.

And then going up Military Road we spotted a truck, reversed up to a garage at Penelope Court. Penelope Court gained notoriety this week after a report in the Herald claimed that this was where a syndicate of metal and copper thieves operated from, but so far no action had been taken, despite numerous complaints. As we drove past we saw that the truck was in fact unloading scrap metal.

We continued on our way and then decided to go back and check it out again.

Western Road opposite the Edward Hotel was much livelier, than the rest of Central. At Trinder Square an overly enthusiatic fellow, probably of West African origin, tried valiantly to flag us down and ran after us as we turned the corner. I concluded that it had something to do with a black car, slowly cruising the neighbourhood that attracted his attention to us and the fact that this is a known hangout for drug dealers. Needless to say we did not stop.

On the way down Military Road we stopped in front of the truck. The engine was idling and the driver was behind the wheel and there was a clatter of metal being unloaded. I noted the number plate and Suzi-k attemped a photo with her cell phone.

We had no joy in trying to report the incident to the police on any of the emergency numbers. The Omega security patrol assured us that there was a legitimate transport business there. They were quite correct, but this was clearly not one of their trucks.

"Oh well, we have at least tried", muttered Suzi-k as we drove off to see what was happening in Dollery Street - another crime "hot spot".

As luck would have it we saw a police van patroling the street and quickly flagged it down and reported our suspicions. Without any hesitation the van pulled off with a squeal of tires in the direction of Military Road. I suspect that by now the truck was long gone. "Oh well at least we tried".

Dollery Street was all quiet. We noticed that the front windows of the cottage Suzi-k restored a few years ago had three layers of burglar bars on the front windows. We had heard that thieves had broken in and gutted the place of all fittings and copper pipes, after the last tenant had moved out.

As we drove on we saw that the passenger side front window of a car parked in the street had been smashed, the owner peacefully sleeping and bissfully unaware of the damage done to his/ her car and the hassle and expense they would have to get it repaired.

All in all it is interesting "cruisin' the 'hood" at the witching hour.

1 comment:

Old Wom Tigley said...

Hi Max
This is so strange, me and Jane do this sometimes.. how weird is that... I hope the police caught the metal thives.. at the moment the price is very high for scrap.. My friend who works on the land rover as had his yard robbed again this weekend... two alimium roofs from long wheel based landrovers and four bonnets have gone, also a ragtop of one of the landrovers as been stolen.. H?e is all ready for packing up now.. when I called there today he was breaking stuff up and taking it to the scrap yard himself.. he says he will now start running the stock down and changing what he as built up for spares into £££s.. What a shame he can not carry on.. The police are just not bothered over here as well.