Policeman makes a difference after ill girl’s prized iPad is destroyed in a robbery

2014-01-02 00:00

A DURBAN dog squad policeman had a brainwave after the prized possession of a sick little girl was smashed in a robbery in Kloof last week.

After arresting a suspect and recovering Christmas presents and other goods stolen from a Kloof family on Boxing Day, Inspector Jean du Plessis discovered that a damaged iPad tablet — smashed during the burglar’s dramatic initial escape — was crucial in the life of six-year-old Tatum Logan.

Bedridden for weeks due to a rare blood vessel inflammation disease, Tatum used the tablet for home learning, games and comfort — and was “visibly distressed” that it had been destroyed. Du Plessis launched a personal fundraising appeal to buy her a new tablet in the two days before she had to return to the Western Cape.

The drama began when the Logan family had to unexpectedly leave their home in Emolweni Road last Thursday to take their dog to the vet, after an attack by a neighbour’s dog.

Tatum’s grandmother, Margaret Logan, a former radio actress, said they returned to find the house ransacked — and at least one burglar fleeing out the rear of the property. She said her husband Derek (77) chased and tackled the thief, who threw the loot over a wall — smashing the tablet in the process — and escaped.

“But what happened next was marvellous, how the community pulled together for us,” she said. Corne Broodryk, chairperson of the Kloof Community Policing Forum, described the remarkable co-ordination between SAPS, family and neighbourhood watch volunteers. “Within minutes, Kloof Street Patrol had mobilised eight vehicles into the area, blocking off all exit points — SAPS had just arrived on scene, security companies had been activated, and a description of one suspect was sent out.”

Kloof CPF members — all private residents — gathered with “informants” at a local tavern, who, he said, identified a known suspect and address.

“While dropping the informants off, the CPF members saw the suspect entering another home in the area. Metro K-9 unit was recalled and the suspect was arrested, still holding most of the stolen goods.”

The Witness understands that the suspect — a juvenile — has been released into his father’s custody, pending criminal charges. After the arrest, Du Plessis catalogued the stolen goods and returned these to the Logans’ home.

“I just thought ‘surely we can do something here for this poor child, after all she’s been through with her illness’. I called Brian Jones from SA Can to see if they could help raise funds, and they took it from there.”

Logan said Tatum — who has suffered from the rare HSP disorder for the past eight months — “screeched with joy” when Du Plessis presented her with a new iPad.

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