Huge stolen shoe haul

2011-10-04 00:00

ELEVEN men were arrested on Saturday in the Port Shepstone area with a consignment of imported shoes amounting to millions of rands.

The two shipping containers carrying a variety of styles and sizes of men’s, women’s and children’s shoes were recovered during the arrests.

The Port Shepstone organised crime unit, K9 Unit and the tactical response team (TRT), under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell Nyuswa, acting on intelligence, made the arrests.

Police spokesperson Captain Vincent Pandarum said the consignment was destined for a Durban-based importer. “The importer had ordered the consignment of footwear, which was picked up by a Springfield trucking company.”

The shoes were supposed to be distributed to chain stores in and around Durban, but the goods failed to reach their rightful destinations.

In the early hours of Saturday morning police intercepted the horse section of the truck, which had picked up the consignment in South Port.

The two occupants in the truck were arrested and the vehicle was impounded. Following further investigations nine more men were arrested outside a trading store in Msinsini, inland of Hibberdene.

Pandarum said, “The accused were taken by surprise when police surrounded them while they were transferring cartons of shoes from a container to a Mercedes Sprinter panel van. They were all arrested and taken into police custody.”

The truck was pulling super-linked trailers. “The smaller of the two containers had already been emptied and a garage-cum-storeroom at the rear of the store was found chockful with boxes of shoes.

“More of the cartons were found in a large storage area towards one side of the shop. Each carton holds 12 pairs of shoes,” said Pandarum.

A third trailer carrying a shipping container was found abandoned on Old Main Road in Umtentweni.

“It was found to be empty. Investigations are under way to determine if it is in any way connected to the same case.”

Seven of the 11 suspects are African nationals. They appeared in the Hibberdene Magistrates’ Court yesterday morning. Abiy Kenafawolda (36), Lawrence Nyasambo (39), Melkamtebege Damtew (40), Bongani Siwisa (29), Eric Nanana (29), Zamani Mtolo (24), Bikle Ramto Dade (32), Peter Antonia (36), Sandile Gigaba (36), Bheki Mazeko (39) and Samson Ntombela (57) have been charged with theft and being in possession of stolen property.

The case has been adjourned until Wednesday, October 12, when they will appear in the Turton Magistrate’s Court for a formal bail application.

Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell Nyuswa commended his officers for their swift response, saying that they have a “very reliable and efficient crime intelligence network”.

“If my members had not reacted so swiftly, we would not have arrested the suspects and recovered the stolen

property.”

He said he hopes the arrests send a strong message to criminals.

“We’ve got the South Coast covered. Criminals who think they will not be found if they hide in our out-of-way,

remote rural areas are certainly

mistaken.”

Nyuswa’s unit was also responsible for the arrest and conviction of the sugarcane serial killer who murdered 13 women between Umzinto and Port St Johns in 2007.

Thozamile Taki received 13 life sentences for his crimes in January this year.

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