15-year jail term for 'cooldrink DNA' burglar

Matota Sithole (Supplied)
Matota Sithole (Supplied)

Cape Town- A thirsty thief who inadvertently left his DNA at a crime scene has been sentenced to 15 years in jail for a series of business burglaries, the Western Cape Hawks said on Thursday.

Matota Sithole, 42, had been linked to a series of burglaries at chain stores in the Southern Cape between 2013 and 2014, said spokesperson Captain Lloyd Ramovha.

During these incidents, a group would gain entrance through the roof, damage alarm systems, grind the safes open and make off with substantial amounts of money and valuables.

At one of the stores, Sithole apparently helped himself to a cooldrink and left his DNA on the bottle.

He was arrested in 2014 and his DNA was linked to the crime after a joint effort by the Hawks and the police.

Further investigation linked him to three other burglaries around Da Gamaskop, Hartenbos and Ladismith.

"Background checks also revealed that he was a career criminal in Gauteng where he originates from," said Ramovha.

The Mossel Bay Regional Court sentenced him to an effective 15 years in jail and declared him unfit to possess a firearm.

National Hawks head Lieutenant General Mthandazo Ntlemeza welcomed the sentence.

"It shows that when we optimally utilise what is at our disposal including forensics, criminals will have nowhere to hide."

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