How cop reservist helped suspect to flee

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

A mere R130 secured the freedom of a suspected cellphone thief at a Nelspruit police station.

This with the help of a reservist while a police officer was busy booking him.

This is what Mpumalanga police said following a recent Sowetan story about the dramatic escape of a suspect in the presence of the complainant about two weeks ago.

A police reservist was arrested yesterday after the suspect, who has since been rearrested, confessed that he paid the reservist to help him escape.

The drama started when a local quantity surveyor, Solly Makondo, received a tip-off that a thug had stolen his cellphone from his car that was parked in the city on June 30.

With the help of the informer, Makondo and his friends followed the suspect who was in the company of two other men.

Makondo dialled his number and it rang. The suspect tried to give the phone to one of his friends, but Makondo grabbed it and looked at its screen saver before shouting that it was his phone.

Makondo's friends were about to manhandle the suspect when one of his friends said he was a policeman. He suggested that they all go to the police station.

The friend also told Makondo not to open a case because the service provider would blacklist his phone.

Mpumalanga police spokesman Captain Leonard Hlathi told the suspect to wait behind the counter while he registered the theft.

"The friend, a police reservist and the suspect quietly left the station.

"The suspect was tracked down and rearrested," Hlathi said.