Reservist fingered for burglaries

2009-12-31 00:00

EIGHT housebreaking charges were brought against a former Plessislaer police reservist between 2008/9, but despite the evidence allegedly implicating him, he was released shortly after being arrested due to “lack of evidence”.

The suspect, who has been arrested again, allegedly committed some of the crimes while he was still a police reservist at Plessislaer police station, targeting a house in the suburb.

The victim of the crimes, who asked not to be named, alleges that during this period the suspect broke into his house several times, stealing various electrical appliances and other goods.

In 2008, he reported four housebreaking cases at the Plessislaer police station. The break-ins happened while he was away and The Witness is in possession of the case numbers and names of the officers who the complainant believes were investigating the cases.

From July to October this year, he laid four more housebreaking char­ges, implicating the same suspect.

“Since this started last year, the suspect has been arrested only once for a short spell. He has been released due to lack of evidence, according to police. It’s strange because every time I report, I give the police my reasons to suspect the man,” he said.

In December 2008, the complainant, along with unnamed police officers and the suspect, went to various pawn shops in town where his stolen appliances were recovered.

“In Church Street we recovered my home theatre system and the shop owner pointed the suspect as the ‘police officer’ he purchased it from. He was wearing police uniform when he sold the loot.

“In [Hoosen Haffejee] and Retief streets, more appliances were reco­vered in different shops and when questioned about these, the shopkeepers said they believed the suspect was a police officer,” the man said.

The complainant further alleges that in all the break-ins the fingerprint unit came only once.

“I have never heard anything from them since then … I have been getting conflicting statements on why the suspect has not been arrested and taken to court. There’s one police inspector who told me that the fingerprints ta­ken in that one instance linked the suspect to the crime, while a senior prosecutor said the dockets have no information linking the suspect to the crimes,” he said.

Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said the matter has been receiving the personal attention of the Plessislaer station commander, and that the suspect was discharged as a reservist two years ago.

A task team was formed two weeks ago and the man, whose name is known to The Witness, has since been arrested and is in police custody.

“A possibility of more cases being connected with him cannot be ruled out,” Budhram said.

Among the allegations being investigated is one of impersonating a police officer.

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