Police officer ‘wrongfully’ releases cop-turned-robber from custody

2017-09-29 20:33
SA police. (Antonio Muchave, Gallo Images, File)

SA police. (Antonio Muchave, Gallo Images, File)

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Cape Town – A police constable arrested for robbery and allegedly smuggling an official R5 rifle was wrongfully released from custody in Bellville on Friday along with two other suspects, police said.

The 24-year-old appeared in the Bellville Magistrate's Court on Friday and it is understood that he was released from police custody either before or after his appearance.

However, officers managed to arrest him and the two other suspects afterwards – the second time they were arrested in three days.

Police spokesperson Captain Frederick van Wyk on Friday said the incident happened at around 11:00.

Aiding in escape case under investigation

"Due to an administrative mistake they were wrongfully released. A case of escape was opened and a case of aiding in escape was opened against the member responsible," he said.

"A disciplinary case will also be investigated against the member responsible."

The constable was initially arrested on Wednesday in Delft – an area about 25km from the Cape Town city centre – after a shop there was robbed.

On Thursday Van Wyk said officers had managed to pull over a vehicle matching the description of the one used in the robbery.

"The two occupants were taken out of the vehicle and searched, whereupon two 9mm pistols with two magazines and 30 rounds were found in their possession. It was then discovered that the one passenger was a police constable," Van Wyk said then.

Two cartons of cigarettes were also seized in the search.

Hidden rifle

The constable then allegedly confirmed he had booked out the firearms at the Nyanga police station.

"He later informed the [police] members that he also booked out an R5 rifle and asked another of his civilian friends to keep it for him," Van Wyk had said.

Police officers followed up on this information and recovered the rifle, with 20 rounds of ammunition and a magazine, hidden between the base of a bed and a mattress.

Police gun problem

Firearms smuggled out of police stations for use in crimes are a massive problem in Cape Town, forming the subject of a mammoth court case set to proceed in the Western Cape High Court in 2018.

Recently, a total of 33 firearms went missing from the Bellville South and Mitchells Plain police stations.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula previously said those firearms were stolen by police officers and were now in the hands of gangsters.

An audit of firearms at all Western Cape police stations is set to be conducted.

Read more on:    police  |  cape town  |  crime

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