March 31, 2016

Burglars hit Bergsig with 30 burglaries in one week: firearms stolen

30 burglaries in a week 
George Police confirmed that there had been a spike in burglaries with 30 taking place in one week (from Monday 21 to Monday 28 March) throughout George. Several firearms were stolen during these burglaries...
Burglars hit Bergsig, firearms stolen
Dries Swanepoel (BNW spokesperson) and fellow BNW members Len and Colleen Groenewalt managed to detain the alleged suspects in Madiba Drive near Pine Lodge until interference by traffic officials led to their escape
GEORGE NEWS - The audacious theft of firearms, jewellery and cash, worth more than R600 000, stolen during three daring burglaries over two weeks, has shocked and outraged Bergsig residents.
Information gathered by the Bergsig Neighbourhood Watch (BNW) indicated that a light blue metallic Toyota Corolla (2009 model) was used as the getaway car in some of the burglaries.
In the latest incident on Monday 21 March this vehicle was again spotted in Spreeu Street but sped away when members of the BNW approached the car. A high-speed chase ensued to Madiba Drive, where the alleged suspects were forced to a halt by members of the BNW. But with the police being unreachable at that moment and the interference of two municipal traffic officials, the alleged suspects got away.
Dries Swanepoel, BNW spokesperson, told the George Herald that they were on the verge of a major breakthrough and were sure they had captured the persons responsible for the burglaries.
"We received a report that this vehicle had been spotted at 08:00 that morning at the scene of a burglary. If the police had arrived timeously, they would no doubt have been able to arrest them with their loot."
He says they are convinced that if it had not been for the negligent way in which the two traffic officials had handled the situation, the suspects would now be behind bars. "We stopped them and cut off their escape in Madiba Drive at about 08:30. Shortly thereafter two traffic officials also stopped. We told them that we tried phoning the police, but no one answered the phone at the radio control room.
They (traffic) told us that they had the situation under control and the vehicle is known to the police. They took the driver of the Corolla to one side and spoke to him, only to return telling us to keep watch on the suspects because they allegedly had another more urgent matter to attend to.
"I emphasised the fact that we thought the suspects were armed and wanted for several burglaries. We were therefore baffled when the officers took off at high speed - closely followed by the suspects in their Toyota. We gave chase. At some point we were travelling up to 160km/h on the N2.
At the Thembalethu turn-off, both the traffic officials and the suspects turned off to go into Thembalethu. We were at a loss as to what to do next and turned back," said Swanepoel.
BNW members Len and Colleen Groenewalt, who were part of the chase, said, "The driver was a tall man and would most certainly not have been able to climb through small windows. His passengers, who were lying down in the back of the vehicle, looked small in build and could easily have climbed through small openings. We were certainly worried because we knew that there had been two burglaries where firearms had been taken, but were determined to see them captured."
30 burglaries in a week 
George Police confirmed that there had been a spike in burglaries with 30 taking place in one week (from Monday 21 to Monday 28 March) throughout George. Several firearms were stolen during these burglaries.
Lieutenant Annacletta Mothoalo, George Police communication officer, issued a blanket warning saying residents have to be vigilant and screen employees. "If you have any information about the stolen property and firearms, please report it as early as possible to avoid innocent killings and robberies."
She was unable to answer several other questions relating to this incident and stated that no such case was opened. 
Captain Malcolm Pojie, Southern Cape Police spokesperson, said the multi-layers of questions sent would require detailed investigation. During the Easter weekend many investigating officers were away on holiday.
Municipality to investigate 
Debra Sauer, George Municipality assistant media liaison officer, said the George Traffic Department is currently investigating the two traffic officials' alleged involvement and could not comment at this stage. "As soon as the investigation has been completed, we will be in a better position to answer the inquiry in full."