Fake-cop fugitive ‘a step ahead’ of detectives

A fugitive who posed as a police captain and worked at a Limpopo police station for about two years is still on the run, evading arrest using tactics he had learnt while posing as an officer.

A source in the police said it was difficult to trace 39-year-old Alex Matsobane Maake, who has been on the run since his escape from Polokwane police station 12 days ago, just two days after his arrest.

His name has appeared in a number of stories in regional newspapers as “Captain Alex Mailula” with his cellphone numbers, which were to be called in instances where prisoners had escaped from police cells. Those who worked with him said he was able to make swift arrests.

Maake is now being hunted by those he had previously worked with in the police’s tracing and detective units.

“This man knows all the tricks that we use in tracing suspects and fugitives. He’s not making any [contact with his] cellphone contacts and is probably monitoring our movements,” a police source said.

“We’re working day and night but there has not been much success. He is always a step ahead of us.”

Sources said Maake started working as a “police captain” at Polokwane Police Station in 2012. This was just a few months after he escaped from a Gauteng prison where he was awaiting sentencing following a rape conviction. He was also sought in connection with a number of cases, including robbery.

All this was seemingly not picked up by those in charge when he reported for duty posing as a captain seconded from national police headquarters in Pretoria to assist in Limpopo.

Suspicions were that he was never vetted or asked for a referral letter from those he claimed had seconded him to Limpopo.

Maake managed to work undetected and was described as a “smooth operator” by those who worked with him at Seshego Police Station.

While a police officer, Maake had access to marked police vehicles, firearms and a uniform.

“We don’t know what he had been up to while posing as a police officer. He could have been on a crime spree while we thought he was one of us,” a source said.

“He was definitely not on the police’s salary roll but as a captain he lived a lavish lifestyle, drove flashy cars and was a ladies’ man. He fooled everyone.”

The police, however, would not reveal much.

“I cannot say much except for we’re investigating a case of escape from custody and impersonating a police officer. We’re still looking for the suspect,” said Limpopo police spokesperson Colonel Ronel Otto.

She would not be drawn into reports that Maake had worked for two years as a police captain and said the investigation was at a “sensitive stage”.

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