Thieves caught at school’s computer room

2009-11-24 00:00

A QUICK response from police at Taylors Halt led to the arrest of two men yesterday morning who were caught at Nyanda Primary School in kwaMpande, in Vulindlela, in possession of computer equipment they were trying to steal.

The alleged thieves dismantled computer hard drives and the school microwave for parts to sell, leaving behind a trail of destruction, not long after another break-in last year where 11 computers, printers and a microwave, among other things, were stolen.

This time, the empty computer shells scattered on the floor that would have met the teachers yesterday morning, were accompanied by the stolen equipment, neatly packed in bags and blankets for the getaway.

When The Witness visited the scene, the gloves and tools the burglars had used, and even a cellphone were still at the crime scenes as a result of the criminals being disturbed by the police.

Inspector Joey Jeevan said it was possible that fingerprint experts had not visited the scene to dust for fingerprints, in which case the arresting officers would not tamper with the crime scene, and the complainants would be encouraged to do the same.

Principal Zandile Sibisi said she received a call from the school’s security guard at around 1 am who alerted her of noises coming from the container used as a computer room within the school premises.

Sibisi then called 10111 and the Taylor’s Halt police station directly. She has commended the latter for their quick response, which led to their catching the men while they were still on the scene.

While the fact that the men were caught might be good news, Sibisi said her pupils still have to do their final computer assessments as part of their exam mark for the year.

“We are left with nothing. I have to write a report to my ward manager and I’ll have to use a pen and paper, which we are no longer used to …”

Sibisi said she was disappointed by the lack of ownership from members of the community who could come and steal from their own children.

The computers were donated by former premier Sbu Ndebele in 2005.

She also lamented the Education Department’s slow response to providing extra security at schools to prevent crimes of this sort happening.

She appealed for donations, or for any technical college students able to help put the computers back together, to come to their assistance.

The arrested men, in their twenties, face charges of housebreaking and theft and are expected to appear in court shortly.

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