Thieves dressed as NDF soldiers rob man of his vehicle

Windhoek: A 29-year old man had a nightmarish experience on Monday evening when four men masquerading as members of the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) forced him into their vehicle and later drove away with his own car. The incident occurred along the Western Bypass.

Livio Goodheart said on Tuesday that everything happened so fast that he was still perplexed as to what exactly the criminals had wanted from him.

The four men, dressed in full NDF uniform and one sporting sunglasses, demanded to see his driving licence and when he could not produce it they drove off with him in their vehicle, leaving behind his red Fiat Bravo.

“They did not say what they wanted. I thought they were doing all that because of a licence and now I’m wondering if I had my licence with me, what would have been their next step. So maybe they were using the licence as an excuse to check who else was in the car with me and when they saw I was alone they saw an opportunity,” said Goodheart when speaking of his traumatising experience.

But Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi of the Namibian Police Force Public Relations Division yesterday said NDF officials have no right to stop civilians.

Goodheart was going to his brother’s residence in Rocky Crest on Monday evening at around 18h50 when along the Western Bypass the four men stopped him at the bridge, demanding to see his driver’s licence.

“The one guy walked to me and asked for my licence. I told him that I don’t have my licence with me because I left it in the other car. So he told me to get out of the car. I got out of the car and he told me to walk with him, so I walked to their car.”

Goodheart said the men appeared so authentic that he did not suspect anything until they started driving away with him in their car. They used a white Toyota Corolla which did not have a NDF insignia but had a big antenna and big lights in front, he said.

“It was like the undercover police. Everything was (seemed) so authentic,” said Goodheart. The four men also did not appear suspicious at first, he added.

“One was tall with glasses and of the other three one had a limp.” The men started speaking in Oshiwambo before telling him to get into their car. “They slapped me when I asked why I should get into their car.” Nevertheless, he heeded their command as he wanted to stay on the safe side of the law.

“I got in the car and they drove away with me. I wanted to jump out but these guys are so professional that they don’t make you feel uncomfortable. I then asked the driver, ‘Why are you guys driving this side, isn’t the police station the other side?’ They didn’t answer me at all.”

Because the men spoke in Oshiwambo he could not make out what they were saying. At that stage Goodheart again observed that the men were using a route which would not lead to the police station.

They also started driving very fast. That is when it dawned on Goodheart that the so-called NDF were actually fakes. Fearing for his life, Goodheart started thinking of ways to escape and thought of jumping out of the vehicle.

“When I wanted to jump out they pulled over and took me to the bush.” One of the men told him to get on his knees, while calling his accomplices to help him. “He let go of my T-shirt. He turned around and told the one guy ila (‘come’ in Oshiwambo),” narrated Goodheart. That is when he saw an opportunity and ran for his life.

“I just ran, I ran … I didn’t care about anything, whether they would shoot me, I just ran.”

Goodheart had run for about ten minutes when he saw that he was out of the bush. He rested for ten to twenty minutes before phoning his brother for assistance.

“I had my cellphone as they didn’t search me. When I got into their car I had put my cellphone in my trousers. I ran to the roadside and called my brother who came immediately.”

Goodheart and his brother drove to where he left his car but it was not there. That is when they drove to the police station in town where he opened a case (CR733/08/2015).

The police on duty said they would alert the City Police.

But to his disappointment they appear not to have done that. “I received a call now (Tuesday at around 16h00) that the City Police just heard about my story now. So the police station in town never told the City Police. They told me that if Nampol (Namibian Police Force) had told them about the story last night (Monday) they could have put up roadblocks and started looking for the car.”

“I’m really thankful that I’m alive. I really don’t care about the car, I’m just happy I’m okay,” a relieved Goodheart said, admitting that it only hit him on Tuesday about what had really happened to him. By yesterday the car had still not been recovered.

Kanguatjivi said Goodheart’s case was news to him but admitted that there have been cases in the past in which criminals impersonated the police.