Sun Oct 23 05:15:04 SAST 2016

'Houdini' gave cops the runaround

By unknown | Dec 06, 2006 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Simon Nare

Simon Nare

Recaptured C-Max prison escaper Annanias Mathe slipped through the cops' fingers at least twice.

Even with a helicopter hovering overhead as he fled, and with police cars streaming into the area, the man dubbed "Houdini" slipped through the dragnet.

It emerged yesterday that on November 26 Mathe outran police who were in hot pursuit of him from the R21 freeway.

He jumped into the yard of a house in Olifantsfontein.

The occupants had left the house shortly before to drive to North West.

"While we were driving on the R21 freeway our neighbours called to say a criminal had jumped into our yard. They asked if they could go over to check," said the resident, who asked that her name be withheld.

"A few minutes after the first call, the neighbour called again to say the burglar alarm had gone off.

"And then the cops called, asking permission to go onto our property.

"They went into the house through the bathroom window, which we had left open, but he wasn't there.

"Apparently he didn't go inside the house. He went into the next house and disappeared from there," she said.

The woman said that while she was driving on the freeway she saw four people, who she later learnt were Mathe's accomplices, handcuffed and lying on the ground.

"Fortunately, we were not in the yard [when Mathe sought refuge there].

"Usually on Sundays we sit outside reading newspapers. Who knows what would have happened if we had been there," she said.

Police spokesman Sally de Beer confirmed that on November 26 police had set up a roadblock after receiving a tip-off.

"When the vehicle [in which Mathe was travelling] approached the roadblock the police stopped it and Mathe got out and ran," she said.

"He climbed over the concrete blocks on the freeway."

Two people who were with Mathe in the car, including his brother, were arrested.

They have been charged with aiding a wanted criminal.

Mathe was arrested on Monday in Tembisa after being shot in the legs and a buttock by an Altech Netstar stolen-vehicle recovery crew.

Netstar had tracked a car he had stolen in Craighall Park.


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