Twitter has played an integral part in the rescue of a man who was a victim of a carjacking in Johannesburg, South Africa over the weekend. The man was driving through Honeydew, a neighborhood in northwest Johannesburg, at about 9pm on Saturday, when two armed men hijacked his Volkswagon Golf 3.
The man was ordered into the trunk of the car, and the captors sped off, not realizing that the victim had his cellphone on him. From the trunk, he’d sent a text message to his girlfriend, who went on to relay the situation to Twitter:
Be on the look for DSS041GP my boyufriend has just been hijacked and is in the boot please RT
The tweet eventually made it to a Johannesburg user @PigSpotter, who has over 100K followers. PigSpotter typical uses his account to notify followers of speedtraps set by police, but altered his angle to assist in the locating of the stolen Golf:
@Tanisha_Reddy my friend was just hijacked and is in the boot of his car, Honeydew area reg no DSS041GP Golf 3 maroon in colourRT
UPDATE: Hijacked car is now heading towards Kroonstad. Police are en route and tracing the active cell phone.
Within an hour of the initial tweets, private security firms were tracking the victim’s cell phone, and the suspects eventually abandoned the car after hitting a roadblock. The victim and his car were located, but suspects weren’t apprehended.
Just received a call, the police have found him his in Ventersberg! He is okay just shaken up thank you to everyone for all the help!!
The owner of the @PigSpotter account spoke to a local South African newspaper, stating, “I think this does go to show [how] effective a networking tool PigSpotter and in general Twitter actually is. This is not the first incident where someone has been rescued, or a vehicle has been retrieved as a direct result of tweeting me and it being RT’ed, and reaching the correct people at the exact moment.”