Stolen car recovered 22 years later

Pretoria – It was February 1993 when 23-year-old Derrick Goosen first got behind the wheels of his Toyota Corolla 1.6 GL. The young man from Wonderboom South in Pretoria would however enjoy his new ride only for a short while.

One day in October that year, Goosen discovered that his pride and joy was gone. He immediately rushed to the Moot police station to report his car stolen.

With no insurance for the car, his only hope was for the car to be recovered so he could get his wheels back. But that was not to be the case. Days turned into months, months into years, and years into decades with no sign of the car.

“At the time I did not have insurance for the car and after reporting it [stolen], I never heard anything about it,” said Goosen, who currently lives in Centurion.

Praise for ‘exemplary’ cop

Twenty-two years later, Goosen received a call that would reunite him with his prized possession. Through the dedication, hard work and perseverance of Warrant Officer Kwakwa Ntokola from the Seshego Vehicle tracking unit in Limpopo, Goosen has his car back.

“Three weeks ago, I received a call from officer Ntokola from the vehicle theft unit to ask if I was driving such a car back then. Old memories came back and we started the process of fetching the car,” he said.

                                                Derrick Goosen’s stolen Toyota. (Supplied to News24)

The car was recovered in November 2014 during a roadblock in Limpopo. The chassis and engine numbers were scraped off but officers were able to get the scratched numbers and link the car to the case Goosen opened.

What followed was Ntokola going through old records and paperwork to track down Goosen to inform him about the car. The man from Centurion was full of praise for Ntokola. He said despite certain individuals within the SA Police Service slacking and not taking their work seriously, “here was an exemplary individual”.

“Every day you read negative comments about police but I’m so happy that in this instance, this specific officer was able to find me after 22 years and to say we found your car, can you come and identify it.

“It’s not the whole police force that is corrupt, there are people like warrant officer Ntokola and people can learn a lot from him. He was doing his work.

“The people who stole this car changed the chassis numbers, engine numbers and the number plates but the officers were able to find the original numbers,” he said.

Goosen added that it was remarkable for Ntokola to track him down after so many years.

Car still in mint condition

The 45-year-old Goosen fetched his car on Tuesday and got a chance to meet the man who was handling his case.

He was pleased to find his car was still in good condition and fully functioning. Nothing was missing from it.

“People can’t believe it. If a car is stolen a year ago, you go to the police pound and you find a skeleton there but this car was very well looked after. It’s still in mint condition,” he said.

Now that he has been reunited with his car, Goosen intended to register it under his name and keep it.

“I will give it a nice polish and keep it. Once again, congratulations to this detective,” he said.

Derrick Goosen’s stolen Toyota is towed back to Pretoria after being recovered in Limpopo. (Supplied to News24)