Ex-convicts and parolees target Sunnyside

SA police. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
SA police. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Pretoria - Police in Sunnyside, Tshwane appear to be reacquainting themselves with ex-convicts and parolees, who can't seem to keep themselves out of trouble.

Police spokesperson Captain Daniel Mavimbela said it appears as if "certain ex-convicts and parolees are hell-bent on undermining the rule of law in the area".

Mavimbela said in the most recent case, a 26-year-old ex-convict who has at least four prior convictions during a career in crime spanning over a decade made a brief appearance in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

He appeared alongside a 22-year-old suspect on a charge of robbery.

"The duo were arrested in Sunnyside, east of Pretoria, shortly after they had allegedly robbed a man of his jacket, cellphone and cash."

Multiple crimes

The victim left the nightclub and went to a nearby McDonald's outlet when he was accosted by four men. He was assaulted and robbed.

"Initial reports suggest that the ex-convict has other three pending cases to his name - two robberies and theft," said Mavimbela.

He said the ex-convict had been convicted of different crimes on at least four different occasions.

"Over the past 12 years the suspect was caught for offenses ranging from drug abuse, theft, burglary, to robbery."

The matter was postponed to June 26 for a bail hearing, which police intend to strongly oppose.

In an unrelated matter, a 39-year-old parolee appeared in the same court after he was charged with robbery.

"He was arrested on Friday immediately after robbing a woman of a cellphone in Sunnyside."

In March, another convicted criminal out on parole was re-arrested on hijacking related charges.          

READ: Tsotsis must be profiled - Mbalula 

Mavimbela said: "The local police are mindful of the fact that the daily influx of people into Sunnyside also attracts criminals into the area. However, they believe that there comes a time when the gods of criminals will shed a tear at the sight of the crime figures."

The 37-year-old Mamelodi man was released from prison on parole in December 2016, after serving sentences for possession of drugs and motor-vehicle related offences, said police.

In March, he allegedly tried to hijack a Range Rover in Sunnyside.

Shortly afterward, police caught him driving a Toyota Corolla. He had the keys to the Range Rover in his possession. Bank cards found in the Toyota belonged to the owner of a Mercedes Benz AMG, who was hijacked in Sunnyside a few days earlier.

The Toyota Corolla was hijacked in Garsfontein about a month earlier.

The Pretoria Magistrate's Court released him on bail for the Land Rover case.

In May, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula called for repeat offenders to be profiled and for their information to be kept on record and included in the bail system.

Mbalula criticised the courts and magistrates for giving bail to "recycled criminals". The loopholes that allowed repeat offenders to get bail or have their cases withdrawn had to be closed, he said.

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