Thieves have allegedly invaded the Kasoa Tollbooth area, snatching various items from people on board vehicles stuck in traffic.
After snatching the items, especially, mobile phones and bags, from their victims, the thieves dash quickly into the bushes along the Densu River, making it difficult to pursue them.
The stretch from the Broadcasting Junction to the tollbooths on the Mallam-Kasoa road has become the operating grounds for the criminals who use the cover of darkness to wreak havoc on their victims.
Close to the tollbooth is a Kasoa Tollbooth Police Station which is supposed to maintain law and order in the area.
The thieves join the hawkers along the stretch and take advantage of the slow moving traffic to snatch phones from their victims in trotros or cars.
In some cases, the knife-wielding thieves boldly break the side windows of saloon cars and pick bags left on the back seats.
A hawker, Mr Joseph Armah, who confirmed the activities of the criminals to the Daily Graphic, said: “We do not know them. They are not hawkers. They just want to spoil our business. The police must be here and the streetlights must be functioning. This place is too dark in the night,” he pointed out.
One of the victims, a young lady called Adelaide, narrated what happened to her: “I was in my car in traffic, with my phone on my laps, when I saw two men approach me. One came to the passenger side in the front and the other to the driver’s side. As I looked at the one close to me, the other stretched his hand, grabbed my phone and ran straight into the bush.”
Adelaide has added her voice to the call to have streetlights on the Mallam-Kasoa Road repaired in order to have the areas noted for traffic build-up illuminated to drive the thieves away.
Ahmed Shakiru, a road user, told the Daily Graphic that he had witnessed a passenger who was seated by the window of a trotro being robbed of his phone.
“It was just like what happens in a movie. While the guy was talking on his phone, one of the criminals came from behind and snatched it from him. The conductor (mate) attempted to pursue him (thief) but he disappeared into the bushes,” he said.
Mr Shakiru also called for the streetlights to be repaired so the area can brighten up.
The long stretch of road, right from McCarthy Hill to the tollbooth area, is without streetlights and is very dark at night. It is also difficult to make out the road marking as they are faded, making it very risky to drive.
A regular user of the road, who gave his name only as Romeo, said he saw the thieves taking a bag from the back seat of a car after the side window had been smashed.
“They pretended to be selling apples and when they saw the bag lying in the car, they smashed the side glass and took the bag away,” he said.
The situation is so bad that a lady who had alighted from a vehicle at the Tuba Junction and was crossing to the other side of the road had her bag snatched from her.
According to her, when she got down from the vehicle, there was a group of people standing on the pavement close to the Tuba Junction Police Station. When she attempted to cross the road, a man from the group standing nearby pulled her bag from her and ran into the bush.
Fred, a commuter, said people on board vehicles should be extra careful as they approached the stretch leading to the tollbooths.
He advised that for the period commuters spent in traffic on that stretch of road “nobody should use his or her phone, since light from the phone attracts the criminals”.
He also urged owners of saloon cars to roll up their windows and to not openly display things in their cars in order not to attract the attention of the thieves.
Confirming the development to the Daily Graphic, Chief Inspector Ampah Korsah said some of the victims went the extra mile to chase the suspected thieves into the bush but to no avail.
He said the thieves had a fair knowledge of the area and always bolted into the bush and sometime swam in the Densu River to avoid being caught by the victims.
According to Mr Korsah, the limited police personnel had been the bane of the police station.