|A Gibraltar family, driving back to Gibraltar from Spain last Friday, found itself in the middle of an armed car hijack in the Calahonda Marbella motorway toll. It was a terrifying and panicking experience.
The family have requested that their names should not be published, but feel that the public should be made aware of it. Indeed, they are doing a great public service in creating awareness about such a shocking experience.
He said: "I was in my car with my wife and son in the Toll queue waiting for the car in front to finish paying and at the same time watching one of the toll attendants on the far right booth blowing a whistle and stressfully signalling to another toll attendant a couple of booths along, not sure what he was telling her and didn’t think much of it either.
"Once the car in front of me paid and drove off I approached the toll booth with my window opened ready to pay and that’s when I saw around 4 armed black African males (unmasked and in casual summer clothes) shouting and running towards a black Mercedes beside me which was paying at the same toll booth as myself but going in the opposite direction."
"OPEN THE CAR OR I SHOOT"
The men were shouting in Spanish “open the car or I shoot” - "this was occurring right beside me so you can imagine the panic. My wife and son both crouched down to the bottom of the car in case a shot went off, and I shut my window and locked all doors. I couldn't drive off as the barrier of my lane was down."
This was just the beginning of a terrible tale: He could not see the driver or passengers of the Mercedes Benz due to the toll booth between his car and the Mercedes but could see the front and back side of the car which tried to reverse to escape but was blocked in by cars behind and in front.
"Despite my family being terrified I was not yet panicking as I was sure that they were only targeting that particular car and I had my doubts if their guns were real. However two of the armed men then run back towards another car and I lost sight of them. This is when I started to panic as I thought they were assaulting other cars.
"I lowered my window slightly and started shouting at the toll booth attendant to raise the barrier so I could drive off but he just stood there facing the opposite side where the Mercedes was, with his hands on the counter. Can only assume he was being held at gunpoint."
All this was happening in broad daylight, between 3 and 4pm. "I was just about ready to drive through the closed barrier when I saw the car in front of the Mercedes get out of the way and the Mercedes drive off. Total silence prevailed and immediately my wife shouted at me that our barrier had been raised and I quickly drove off (without paying I might add).
"Although I could not see inside the Mercedes I am pretty sure the assaulters drove off in the Mercedes, and would not be surprised if they took the driver too as I could not see anyone standing around."
The witness had no idea where these armed men came from, whether from the side of the road or from the car in front of the Mercedes, but they seemed to have targeted the most expensive car on the toll.
All this happened within a couple a minutes, "but left us in shock, in particular my son who was shaking and did not want to drive through another toll."
He thinks, quite rightly, that people should be informed of this so they are aware of the increasing dangers which are escalating in Spain, in this particular case those with expensive cars should be particularly cautious.
Indeed, this is a serious matter. We asked the RGP about it and they confirmed that they have been liaising with the witness and with the Spanish Police on this incident. "We are currently assisting them with enquiries," said a spokesman.
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