14 hours to catch burglar in the ceiling

SHOPPING was disrupted at a Pick n Pay supermarket in Soshanguve, Pretoria, on Friday as security guards struggled for about 14 hours to catch an elusive burglar hiding in the ceiling.

SHOPPING was disrupted at a Pick n Pay supermarket in Soshanguve, Pretoria, on Friday as security guards struggled for about 14 hours to catch an elusive burglar hiding in the ceiling.

According to Lungisa Vikela Security Services director Lucas Sithole, the burglar gained entry to the supermarket by cutting a hole in the roof.

Security guards heard a sound inside the supermarket just after midnight and, on inspection, found three large bags packed with cigarettes and other items on the floor.

Noticing a hole in the ceiling, two guards climbed on to the roof to locate the burglar.

"It was like trying to catch a mouse. The search became more frustrating when the burglar started taunting us, daring us to catch him. One of my guards fell through the ceiling when he tried to tackle the burglar," Sithole said.

He said the police came with a sniffer dog but refused to release the dog into the ceiling. "They feared that the dog would fall."

The burglar's shanigans ended when he fell through the ceiling, straight into the toilet of an adjacent clothing store.

"We had already given up on catching him when we were called by staff at the clothing shop, saying someone had just fallen out of their ceiling," Sithole said.

He said it was the second time the supermarket was burgled through the roof. A month ago a burglar gained entry to the supermarket and stole a laptop.

Police spokesperson Warrant-officer Lolo Mangena confirmed the incident and said an 18-year-old youth was arrested and charged with burglary.

He said the youth would appear in the Soshanguve magistrate's court today.

X