TWO people were abducted in Athlone in less than a week - one a 15-year-old girl, the other a woman in her thirties.
At 22:00 on Sunday evening, a woman parked her car on the corner of Mavis and Klipfontein Roads and crossed to the Standard Bank on the other side of road.
After drawing money, she went back to her car, where two men snatched her money and forced her into the passenger seat. They tied her hands with the seatbelt.
She was still missing at the time of going print. Police request that people be on the lookout for a white Jetta with registration CA 91608 and contact the investigating officer, Inspector Tony Chalemale, on (021) 697-9239.
Vernon Piedt, chairperson of the Community Police Forum, says witnesses apparently tried to flag a passing police van but it was going too fast to see them waving.
The second kidnapping was that of a Bridgetown girl who is still trying to come to terms with her ordeal. She was on her way home from Garlandale High School last Tuesday when she was accosted by four thugs.
She left school with a friend on the day. When they reached Dobson Road they parted ways. As she entered a lane close to the library she saw two men standing on one side of the road and another on the opposite side.
Suddenly a fourth man grabbed her school bag. She tried to wrest the bag from him but he proved too strong for her.
Holding her bag, the man threatened her and started to walk with her, apparently with the idea of creating the impression that they were together. The other three men surrounded her so she could not escape - or alert police when they walked past the Athlone Police Station.
When they reached a quiet area, the men instructed her to take her jewellery off. They emptied her bag onto the ground and took the only valuable thing in it: her calculator.
"The one man took out a knife and told me to walk," says the girl.
She says she was terrified and that the entire experience was something of a blur, but she distinctly remembers that all the men were wearing blue overalls with "CCT" written in yellow on their backs.
Tears streaming down her face, she described the ordeal: "We walked to Bokmakierie bridge and two of the men bought train tickets while the other two walked me through the subway with the knife constantly held against my back."
When they got to the station platform, the security guards were too far from her to alert them. "[The men] spoke to each other in Afrikaans but never spoke to me so I didn't know what was going to happen."
Once the train to Cape Town arrived they forced her into an empty carriage.
She says three of the men were black. One looked to be around 20 and had short dreadlocks; the other two men looked to be 20 and 30. She says one had a silver stud in his ear, and the other had a gash in his eyebrow. The fourth man was coloured, bald and wearing a beanie.
She says that at one of the stops people pointed at the carriage - she thinks this may have alarmed the men. At the next stop the thugs fled with her bag, but dropped it as they ran away. She too jumped out and remembers seeing two towers and a Jungle Oats sign. Her father suspects she was at Maitland station. From there she walked along the railway line to get back to Athlone.
She phoned her parents and was taken to Athlone Police Station's victim support room, where she was given counselling. Her father says the support they were given was amazing, but that his daughter still needs time to recover.
Captain Andre Venter, communications officer at the station, told her she should see herself as a survivor and not a victim.
Anybody with information or who recognises the description of the suspects should contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111 or the Athlone police on (021) 697-9200.