Businesses urged to be vigilant during load shedding

2015-06-26 11:30
Police cars outside the clothing shop that was burgled during load-shedding on Wednesday night.

Police cars outside the clothing shop that was burgled during load-shedding on Wednesday night. (Supplied)

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POLICE have warned Pietermaritzburg businesses to be extra vigilant of crime during load shedding when CCTV cameras in the city are ineffective.

This comes after the third business burglary in the CBD this month where burglars have used the cover of darkness during load shedding to commit their crimes.

Just before 9 pm on Wednesday, when the CBD was left in darkness, two men entered a foreign-owned clothing shop on Church Street.

When the electricity returned, a Safe City camera operator spotted a man pushing a box-like object through the half-opened shop door.

Immediately after alerting the police, two officers from the Pietermaritzburg police station’s housebreaking project team, Sergeant Nolin Peter and Constable Shaik Cassim, arrived at the shop in under three minutes, catching the burglar in the act.

The man was caught trying to push a heavy generator out the shop door.

The officers apprehended the man and called the K9 unit for assistance as another man was believed to be inside the store.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Mthokozisi Ngobese said officers believed the second burglar was hiding in the ceiling. When Cassim entered the ceiling, the burglar tried to make a run for it, but was unsuccessful as his weight caused a part of the ceiling to collapse, sending him plummeting to the floor where the police dog was lying in wait. He was tackled to the floor when he tried to get up.

After the men were arrested, the owner of the shop, a Chinese national, identified one of the burglars as a Malawian national who previously worked at the clothing store as a security guard.

Police found a bunch of keys thrown nearby and it is alleged that the former security guard had made duplicates of the shop keys while he was an employee.

A police source said it is believed that the two men are linked to other business break-ins the CBD.

Ngobese said both men were charged with burglary and are being profiled to establish if they are linked to other crimes. The men are expected to appear in court today.

The owner of the shop, who identified himself only as Chun, said the burglars tried to steal the generator, the safe, laptops and cameras.

“The acting station commander of the Pietermaritzburg police station Kennith Shezi commends the good working partnerships with police and other role players,” Ngobese said.

“We urge businesses to be extra vigilant during load shedding and take pro-active steps to protect themselves”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  load shedding

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