Cops corner gang of burglars

2015-09-23 10:22
Constable Farhaad Ismail handcuffs one of the three suspects.

Constable Farhaad Ismail handcuffs one of the three suspects. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - A criminal gang responsible for a spate of burglaries has been caught after an intensive police operation.

Members of the Organised Crime Unit and the Combined Action Team (CAT) on Tuesday arrested three men who are believed to have made up the professional syndicate behind a wave of high-end house burglaries in Chase Valley, Montrose, Howick and Hilton.

The gang members, believed to be from KwaMashu in Durban, were identified by several residents who pinpointed the vehicle used in the burglaries.

According to a police source, seven people who reported falling victim to the gang identified the same vehicle, a white Ford Bantam bakkie, which is also believed to be stolen.

However, these seven residents were not the only victims, as police believe the gang is responsible for dozens of other burglaries in which goods amounting to almost half-a-million rand — including electronic items like laptops, cellphones and television sets — were taken.

The gang has allegedly been operating in the Townhill, Hilton and Howick area for more than two months.

Warrant Officer Johan Wolfaard and Sergeant Eugene Nel from the Organised Crime Unit, who had been investigating the gang, on Tuesday heard about an attempted burglary in Hilton over police radios. The burglars’ vehicle was identified as a Ford Bantam.

The gang had allegedly broken into a Hilton home and managed to only gather duvets, cameras and other small objects when they were disturbed by the owner, after which they fled the scene.

The officers traced the vehicle back to Pietermaritzburg and spotted it in the Chase Valley area.

CAT was called for back-up and, when they arrived, the officers pounced on the unsuspecting gang, nabbing all three burglars.

The gang were believed to be scouting another home in the Chase Valley area when they were caught.

Officers found the items stolen from the Hilton home, as well as housebreaking implements like crowbars, gloves and a sledgehammer in the bin of the van.

According to a police source, the gang’s modus operandi was similar to the notorious “Five-Minute Gang”.

“They use the crowbars to lift gates off the rails and bring their vehicle into the yard. They then smash open the front door and ransack the house while the alarm is going off. They leave within five minutes, before security companies can react,” the source said.

“They use the same vehicle in all their heists, but change the number plates so it is difficult to detect.”

The three men were taken to the Howick police station, where they were detained. The men are expected to appear in court soon.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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