Rape: Caught within minutes

2009-08-27 00:00

A MAN who dragged a young woman into a container in the city centre and raped her was arrested after his attack was spotted on Safe City cameras.

Lucas Holtzhausen of Safe City said that on Friday night last week, a Safe City operator noticed a man dragging and pulling a woman into a container in Slatter Street.

“The SAPS responded immediately — within five minutes — and upon investigation found that the female had been raped … The suspect was arrested and detained at Pietermaritzburg Central.”

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said police have seen an increase in rapes reported in the city centre in recent months.

“In June there was one, in July three and four so far in August.”

He said the 18-year-old woman was walking in Pietermaritz Street with a friend at around 10 pm when they were approached by two men.

One of the men, aged 19, pulled the woman into the container.

Budhram said that when Safe City operators alerted police they rushed to the scene and arrested the man.

“We may have saved the friend from being raped or have even prevented a murder perhaps.”

He said that while he understands that many women are forced to be in the CBD at night due to work commitments, this should be avoided otherwise. He also warned criminals in the city centre that they were being watched.

“The Safe City CCTV cameras are a great help in identifying crime in the city centre.”

Budhram said the suspect has appeared in court.

Holtzhausen said that between August 17 and 23, 36 incidents were detected on the CCTV cameras. Police responded to 26 incidents, including those involving suspicious and disorderly behaviour by individuals.

In related news, a car thief suspect was caught by police dogs yesterday after he abandoned the vehicle during a high-speed chase on the N3, and scaled fences in the Wensleydale suburb in Pietermaritzburg in his bid to escape.

The 24-year-old man was arrested and charged with theft of a motor vehicle. He will appear in the Estcourt Magistrate’s Court shortly.

The government vehicle was stolen from the Estcourt city centre yesterday at about 10 am. About an hour later, Inspector Shabir Essop of the Pietermaritzburg Dog Unit heard a police radio call about a stolen vehicle, as he was doing routine patrols.

The radio message said the stolen red Nissan bakkie was travelling on the N3.

Budhram said Essop drove towards the Ohrtmann Road bridge and spotted a vehicle fitting the description of the stolen bakkie driving on the southbound highway.

“He gave chase and near the New England road off-ramp the suspect lost control of the vehicle.” The vehicle swerved across the freeway and stopped on the grass in the centre median.

“The suspect jumped out of the bakkie and ran across the freeway into the residential area,” said Budhram. He ran across Wensleydale Road and jumped over a concrete fence into the yard of a residence.

A gardener saw him running through the yard where he was working. The garderner was quoted as saying, “I just saw a man running across the yard and he jumped over the palisade fence and into the road”.

When he ran into Wensleydale Road, the police dog caught him.

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