David Jali and Marselle van der Mescht, staff from Cape Recife High School chased down two armed robbers, retrieving a bag they had stolen.
David Jali and Marselle van der Mescht have been hailed as heroes in Port Elizabeth. The two men work at the Cape Recife High School. David is the school’s physiotherapy assistant and Marselle is the school’s caretaker.
David was outside the school helping some of the students out of the bus before school started when he heard screaming. He turned to check where it came from and saw two armed men wrestling a woman’s bag free from her grip before running off. David ran into the school for help and happened upon Marselle.
The two ran for a car and chased the men down.
“We jumped into the car and gave chase to try and find the men,” – David Jali
“We saw the men walking about 15m apart from each other a street away. We stopped the car next to the one guy walking in front and he started running with a dagger in his hand. I jumped out of the car and wrapped my arm in my jacket,”
“As I jumped out, he [Marselle] gave chase in the car, blocking him.”
The robber with the dagger tried to stab David multiple times.
“Luckily, every time he lunged at me, I managed to duck out of his way and block him with my arm. I tried to grab him a few times, but he kept pulling away.”
The pursuit ended at the beach where the school staff were able to tackle the dagger-wielding assailant down to the ground and nearby builders stopped the other robber in his tracks. According to them, he was carrying a firearm.
“I just carried on hooting to get attention and more people to help. They ran towards the beachfront with Jali chasing them and me in the car hooting and trying to block them,” – Marselle van der Mescht
“The builders heard the hooting and commotion and I yelled out of the car window for them to help. By that stage, all the builders joined in on the pursuit. The two men ran across the road onto the beachfront and the builders managed to wrestle one of them to the ground, taking the gun out of his pants. The other robber continued on running away along the beach, but Jali was catching up,” Van der Mescht recalled.
“The chase led them to the Pollok Beach car park [at surfing spot Pipe] where the robber turned again and tried to stab David [Jali]. I jumped out the car and picked up a rock to hit him on the head. As I grabbed the rock, he [the robber] turned towards me. At that second, David grabbed him from behind and wrestled him to the ground.
“By this stage, more people had joined in the chase. As they both went to the ground, I jumped on the guy and held him down while other people joined in and we managed to get the dagger out of his hand,”
Shortly after the men were detained, the police arrived and took them into custody. They managed to retrieve the bag a few roads back. A case of theft has been opened.
Thanks to David and Marselle, these criminals were caught without anyone being injured.