Two skelms robbing hikers along the city’s scenic hiking routes were stopped in their tracks on Saturday afternoon by wakker Table Mountain rangers.
The armed men, aged 23 and 37, were nabbed by the rangers at Kleinplaas Dam in Simon’s Town and handed over to the police.
They were found in possession of drugs, knives and scissors and SANParks believe they have robbed at least three groups of hikers over the last two weeks.
“We have just detained two suspects and handed them over to SAPS who have arrested them for the possession of drugs and dangerous weapons,” said Lauren Howard-Clayton, spokesperson for South African National Parks (SANParks).
She said that there have been reports of robberies on trails in the last two weeks and an operation to combat this was launched.
“Table Mountain National Park can report that the rangers from the southern section planned and executed a successful operation near the Kleinplaas Dam area over the past few days in response to the crime incidents experienced in the last two weeks.
“Both suspects match the description given by the victims from the last three incidents.”
The Kleinplaas Dam is a favourite route among hikers.
The hobby has seen a boom during lockdown, especially among fitness enthusiasts, after gyms were closed.
However, skelms have been having a field day targeting hikers and robbing them of their valuables, and in some cases physically attacking hikers and joggers.
Earlier this month, two men running along Tafelberg Road near the lower cable station were attacked by assailants armed with knives and a metal bar.
Eddie Moyo, 35, and his friend were ambushed, beaten, stabbed and robbed of their cellphones.
Two of Moyo’s teeth were knocked out, while his friend was stabbed.
Hikers have been cautioned to never cycle, hike or run alone, to always inform someone of their activity and to stick to trails suitable to their level of fitness and experience.
Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed the arrests.
“Simon’s Town police were called for assistance by Table Mountain National Park rangers and arrested two suspects, aged 23 and 37.
“The suspects were charged for possession of a dangerous weapon and possession of drugs. At this stage, the suspects are not linked to any other crimes.
“The suspects will appear in court once they are charged.”