By Molaole Montsho for IOL
Four men were arrested for allegedly stealing 18 laptops, a projector and groceries valued at R78 000 from a school in Bloemfontein on Tuesday.
Free State police spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele said the men, aged between 17 and 25, were arrested on Tuesday morning after police acted on an intelligence-driven operation around Ipopeng and Freedom Square.
“A principal from the local school in Olive Hill, Navalsig, received an alarm notification from school. Upon arrival at about 08.30, he realised that a window to the storeroom was broken. He discovered that 18 HP laptops, school feeding scheme groceries and a projector, all valued at R78 000, were stolen. A case of burglary was opened for investigation,” Makhele said.
The first suspect was apprehended in Ipopeng, where one laptop was recovered. Information led police to Freedom Square where 11 more laptops were recovered and three suspects arrested, Makhele said.
“Upon further investigation, police recovered three more laptops that were already sold to a second-hand goods dealer in town. Investigations are under way to recover the remaining laptops.”
The four are expected to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court soon facing charges of business burglary and the possession of suspected stolen property.
Free State provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Baile Motswenyane advised residents to refrain from buying suspected stolen goods as they would also be charged. She encouraged second-hand goods dealers to request proof of ownership when they bought second-hand goods.
In the Eastern Cape, two men were arrested on Tuesday in connection with a house robbery in Gelvandale, police said.
Spokesperson Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said a woman was woken by a noise at 1am to find three men in her bedroom.
The suspects fled with a television set and her cellphone.
The woman woke up the other occupants in the house and, while they were waiting for the police to arrive, the suspects returned. As the police arrived on the scene, they were informed that the the suspects had returned and a description of the suspects was provided to them.
The police received information that the men were hiding in a house in Gelvandale.
Two suspects were arrested and the stolen television set recovered.
The suspects, aged 19 and 20, were arrested on charges of house robbery and will appear in the Gelvandale Magistrate’s Court during the week.
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula “isn’t feeling” the general 1.8% decrease in crime during the 2016/17 financial year, and has yet again warned violent criminals that they will be dealt with in a “proportional response”. According to a recent survey and the Liberty Bell Law criminal defense attorney California” The crime rate has drastically gone down in several places over the years due to the increased number of police personnel and also due to the heightened security which is helping keep criminals at bay.”
“Crime is in general down, but when you zoom into the numbers, we have a big problem where violent crime is going up, and there is no time to hide this,” said Mbalula, presenting the crime statistics for 2016/17 to the Portfolio Committee on Police on Tuesday morning.
“Yes, we have a 1.8% drop in crime, I do not feel it, and our people do not feel it, and they are correct. We have a drop in sexual violence, but we have more and more pictures of our women going missing. People must feel the drop in crime where they live.”
Mbalula said South Africans must ask whether they had accepted living side by side with violent criminals.
“Is criminality a South African citizen itself? Our answer must be an emphatic and radical ‘No!’,” he said.
“We must deal with crime in a radical and energetic way – our language must be clear and understood.”
He insisted that he “seriously means” it when he says violent criminals will receive a response proportional to their actions.
“Today, I am saying to criminal gangs, Nilibambe Lingashoni – I am coming for you hard, enough is enough.”
Mbalula didn’t only talk tough on criminals, but was also willing to introspect on the police’s own failings.
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‘We have relaunched specialised units’
He slammed the “lazy efforts” of police to curb crimes that were indicative of police effectiveness.
“The crimes that are considered as indicators of the effectiveness of police activities, these are crimes detected as a result of police action, experienced a reversal from a decrease of 0.3% in the preceding financial year to an increase of 9.6%,” said Mbalula.
“This increase is too small and indicative of the lazy efforts by the police to detect such crime, in order to make South Africa a safer place to live in. Police, in this instance, are letting our people down and I am here to stop it.”
He said the “chop and change” of police commissioners – from Bheki Cele to Riah Phiyega, to various acting national commissioners – had affected the focus and direction of the police.
He also expressed his concern about decreasing police numbers and the top-heavy structure.
“Honourable members, this is not just talk. We are strengthening our capacity, we are appointing strategic thinkers in police management and stabilising our Crime Intelligence Division to enable intelligence-led crime prevention and policing.
“We have relaunched specialised units to focus on drugs, rape, violent threats and violent criminals. We are enhancing our technological capacity to match the evolved digital technology arena.”
By Jan Gerber for News24
Police have arrested four suspects in connection with last week‘s brazen heist at OR Tambo International Airport, but are still searching for the stolen money.
One of the suspects is a police officer.