This morning, downtown workers’ commutes were made significantly more dangerous by the dramatic theft of a cement-mixing van from a building site on Vitastígur at around 9:00 this morning. The vehicle careered down Laugavegur and Bankastræti, around Lækjargata and along Sæbraut, driving a considerable distance on the wrong side of the road and ignoring red traffic lights. To make matters worse, the driver also mounted roadside verges, cycle paths and pavements, putting pedestrians as well as drivers in danger.
Fortunately, the thief’s joyride was brought to an abrupt halt by police near Kleppsvegur. According to a statement released by the Capital Area police force earlier today, the suspect, a male in his thirties, is currently in police custody. Police have highlighted the swift response of their officers and their preparedness for such an incident.
Despite the effectiveness of police actions, it was partly a matter of luck that no one was harmed this morning. Questions remain in regard to levels of security at the building site the truck was stolen from and how to prevent such incidents in the future.
In an interview with Vísir this morning, police officer Guðmundur Páll Jónsson revealed that the truck’s driver was under the suspected influence of drugs.
Although levels of drug use are relatively low in Iceland in comparison with other western countries, reports of spikes in opioid and cocaine abuse in recent years have sparked concern that such incidents of reckless drug-fuelled behaviour may become more common on Reykjavík’s streets. However, for now the incident remains a freak event.
Police sirens are rarely heard in central Reykjavík, so this morning’s incident is sure to have provided many Icelanders with a memorable start to their day.
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