cop office safe gone

YET another Mpumalanga police office has been broken into and a safe containing more than R500000 and exhibits stolen.

The robbery took place at the organised crime unit offices in Middelburg between Sunday night and the early hours of Monday morning.

The theft was discovered by the unit's commander when he reported for work on Monday morning.

A similar robbery was reported at the Nelspruit office of the same unit on July 9 this year. Intruders stole R3million worth of drugs from the safe. There has been no trace of the thieves or the loot and investigations are still continuing, according to police.

Captain Leonard Hlathi of the Mpumalanga organised crime unit said the commander of the unit arrived at the office at 6.50am and found the main entrance wide open.

"He went inside and found the burglar door at the entrance to the building was open. The officer then proceeded to his office thinking that some of the members had arrived before him," Hlathi said.

Inside the office, he discovered that the wooden cabinet on which the safe for exhibits was mounted had been moved from its original position.

"There was no sign of forced entry but the safe was forcibly removed from the wall."

It was taken away, together with the exhibits and cash amounting to R559700," he said.

Hlathi, who confirmed to Sowetan that the police suspected an inside job, said: "For the reason that the building showed no signs of forced entry, the actions then leave much to be desired among our own members.

"If it is true that the suspect or suspects are from within, such members will face the full might of the law, if caught. Such members would be removed from society and rot in jail because they are bringing the name of the police into disrepute."