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15 minutes of fame

15 minutes of fame
thats all it really is
making a tangible difference
is a feeling that lasts forever
a rare chance
a rarer feeling
but i like it

A hunch helped her find stolen car

November 4 2011 at 01:32pm
By Shaun Smillie

It was a journalist and the power of social media that did what helicopters and the police couldn’t – track down model Lee-Anne Liebenberg’s husband’s hijacked car.

Nicky van der Walt was hijacked in the driveway of his Hurlingham residence at about midday on Tuesday.

Moments after the two hijackers made off with Van der Walt’s Rolex watch and Range Rover, the car’s tracking device was triggered.

What turned out as more important in the search for the luxury vehicle was a tweet fired off at the time of the incident by Liebenberg, who was in the house.

One of her Twitter followers is Amanda Watson, online editor for {looklocal north east Joburg}. Watson was in her office in Jan Smuts Avenue when she noticed a police helicopter and car tracking company helicopter circle close by. An ex-cop, Watson realised that something was up.

“The two choppers were circling for a while and I knew that it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint cars with trackers in them. I had a strong feeling that the car was in the area,” she said.

The helicopters moved off and Watson decided she would go and see if she could locate the vehicle. From the tweet she had a description of the Range Rover and a registration number.

Falling back on the days when she was an explosives patrol dog handler in the SAPS, she decided to perform a grid search between Hyde Park and Jan Smuts Avenue.

On Alexandra Avenue in Craighall Park she spotted the black Range Rover, parked in the shade under a tree. Not sure if the hijackers were still in the area, she parked her car about 50m away and phoned the police.

“When the cop opened the door, the keys were still there and so were the bank cards,” said Watson. She had found the car two-and-a-half hours after the hijacking.

The incident appeared to have the same modus operandi as that of the Rolex gang.

Van der Walt appeared to have been followed home from Melrose Arch. In the driveway of his house he was told to hand over his Rolex. The cash was also stolen. He wasn’t harmed. Hours after the incident, Liebenberg tweeted her appreciation for what Watson had done. “THANK YOU AMANDA FOR EVERYTHING! You’re AMAZING,” she wrote. – The Star



  1. Ame says:

    Nice blog you got. do you write your own content?

    i try to. but mostly it writes itself

  2. nectarfizz says:

    THANK YOU AMANDA FOR EVERYTHING! You’re AMAZING<—-Well frick…they must read your blog..cause Amandzing is always your way. lol

    Amazing Amanda. Wonderful poem to commemorate just have awesome we already knew you were.

    lol thanks, 15 minutes of fame…always nice…what was nicer was being back in the police for a little while, however fleeting it was

  3. deckert says:

    Can I simply say what a reduction to search out somebody who truly is aware of what they’re speaking about on the internet. You definitely know how one can bring a problem to light and make it important. Extra people have to read this and perceive this side of the story. I cant imagine you’re not more fashionable since you undoubtedly have the gift.

    thank you.

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