Free State principal relieved after police find stolen computers

2017-03-01 12:51

Cape Town – The theft of computer equipment from Mokitlane Primary School in the Free State last month was a blow for staff members trying to keep up with admin and prepare paperwork for pupils.

So when police recovered what they believed to be the stolen items this week, Principal Francis Khoba breathed a sigh of relief.

"It was quite a challenge," Khoba told News24 on Wednesday.

He recalls walking into his no-fee school in Thaba Nchu on February 16 to find that thieves had gained access through windows.

They took a computer from his office, another one from his head of department’s office, and a third from the staff room. Also gone were the monitors, a printer, mouse, and internal hard drive.

A toy gun that was allegedly found with five men
A toy gun that was allegedly found with five men, along with suspected stolen computers from a school in the Free State. (Supplied: SAPS)

Without his computer, Khoba had to do many of his tasks manually.

"The computer in the staff room was where the teachers normally did their question papers. They also enter the marks through the computer which then goes into the main server."

Not the first burglary

Thankfully, his head of department had a tablet computer and they used that where they could.

It was not the first time the school had suffered at the hands of burglars. About a year ago, someone stole food meant for their pupil feeding scheme.

"They pulled through the roof to get to the storeroom. They took the whole week’s food," Khoba said in disbelief.

"We had no insurance and the children suffered."

They added security measures to the roof, which managed to stump people who tried to break in again. Then they tried to break through a wall, but failed.

The latest break-in confounded him because not everything was taken from their school.

"I really don’t understand. I can’t say it was poverty."

Khoba said police told him that only one of the computers was sold on.

5 arrested after tip-off

However, Selosesha police said they recovered all three Acer computers, valued at R15 000, three monitors, one Pixma printer, a mouse, keyboard, and internal hard drive.

Crime intelligence and the K-9 unit recovered the equipment early on Tuesday morning and arrested five men, aged 22 to 34, for possession of suspected stolen property.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Martin Xuma said they received a tip-off about the location of the computers on Monday.

"A toy gun that is suspected to have been used in criminal activities was also confiscated."

Xuma said the group "may" be linked to the business burglary case registered at the school. They would appear in the Thaba Nchu Magistrate’s Court soon.

Khuba was overjoyed at the arrests.

"I am happy because it really shows our police are doing their work."

Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  education  |  crime

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