With a rap sheet spanning more than 10 years, one of the city’s most wanted criminals has again been arrested, with a string of new charges to his name.
The man, who is set to appear in court today, has a long history of being charged for serious and violent crimes, some of which he was convicted of and others where cases were withdrawn.
Police have been hunting him for months, tracing him to different parts of the province after linking him to brazen acts of theft at businesses in Pietermaritzburg since last year.
Little did officers know that the man was closer than they thought, and had appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court on Tuesday, facing charges of murder.
Police swooped in on him shortly after his court appearance.
The man, who cannot be named until his court appearance on the new charges, is wanted for his alleged involvement in four separate thefts from government department offices and businesses in the city — one at The Witness.
He was first arrested in the Ntuzuma area in Durban back in 2004 after being found in possession of drugs.
Two years later, he was fingered for allegedly raping a woman in the same area.
In 2007, the man was believed to be linked to two theft cases — one in Pietermaritzburg and one in Greenwood Park, Durban.
In the Greenwood Park case, three men had stormed into a business premises and held up a member of staff at gunpoint before escaping with a laptop.
Two years later, the man was arrested for drug trafficking in Pietermaritzburg.
He was also taken into custody for trespassing and bribery after being accused of scouting out a business premises in the Durban CBD and trying to bribe with a cellphone a security guard who apprehended him.
After his release, the crime spree allegedly continued.
The man currently stands accused of stabbing a Dambuza resident to death in September, 2014 — the case he was appearing in court for when he was arrested on Tuesday.
Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said the man was arrested by the city’s tracing team — who were recently hailed as the best-performing visible policing unit in KwaZulu-Natal during the province’s 2016 excellence awards.
The team were hunting for the man after his suspected involvement in five cases of theft at businesses and government offices in the city.
Describing the man’s modus operandi, Ngobese said he would enter office blocks and seek out a target who had car keys or other valuables in plain sight.
It is suspected that he worked with an accomplice as CCTV footage sometimes revealed two men at each crime scene.
In June last year, a female employee at government offices in Jabu Ndlovu Street had her car keys removed from her handbag after she stepped out of her office.
Her vehicle was not stolen, but she only realised that her keys were missing at the end of the work day.
A month later, a cellphone was stolen from an unlocked office in the same building.
Also in June, the man and his accomplice gained entry to The Witness building by pretending to be visiting an employee.
They then made their way to the first-floor offices, from where they stole a manager’s car keys and cellular phone.
One of the men then went to the senior management parking area, from where they stole the manager’s BMW convertible and drove out the gate.
After The Witness published their faces from CCTV footage, the pair were apparently spotted again at the provincial legislature building in Langalibalele Street a few weeks later.
The men apparently walked into the administration office and stole a laptop. They gained access to the building after being signed in under the pretext of visiting an employee in the building.
Ngobese said police are still tracing the man’s accomplice.