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Bungling 'stock thieves' drive into police station

Stock theft is the most common crime experienced by farmers in SA.
Stock theft is the most common crime experienced by farmers in SA.

Instead of running away from the law, "stock thieves" in Parys, Free State, ran into the arms of the police.

Farmer and pastor Juan Greeff woke up in the early hours of Saturday morning to find his sheep kraal had been raided.

“I didn’t see or hear anything. Not even the dogs barked. I just woke up in the middle of the night, like any other night, and checked the kraal on camera. I was shocked to see it empty,” he said.

“I had no doubt they were stolen because the fence was cut. It looked like they were walked through the farm.”

The Vredefort AGS-Kerk pastor said he alerted his neighbours and formed a search party. At about 5am they got a lead.

“We heard that there was a strange vehicle loading the animals. Then we made a roadblock with the community patrol guys.”

When they tried to flag down the suspected stock thieves, the suspects allegedly drove into one of the roadblock members.

“He was on the side of the road signalling with a torch for the car to stop, but they didn’t. They kept on approaching and ended up injuring him.

“When we caught them, they tried to flee, but only to end up in a police station. I don’t think they intended to drive into the station (precinct),” Greeff said.

About 100 of his sheep were released from the kraal, but only about 19 were loaded onto the vehicle.

“All the animals were recovered. We even opened a case, but I can’t say I’m happy, because some of them were injured from the wire they used to tie them.

“We have a serious problem of stock theft in the area. We are always alert. It's worse now because of the festive season.”

Greeff said the man injured during the roadblock had been discharged from hospital on Sunday. 

Police Brigadier Motantsi Makhele issued a statement saying that intelligence-driven information led to the arrest of two men for stock theft where sheep to the value of R500,000 were recovered.

Makhele said information was received at 7.45pm on Friday about planned livestock theft at Vredefort. Kroonstad Crime Intelligence members and Parys Visible Policing officials took action.

“The police, together with farmers, chased after the two men until they drove to Parys police station, where they ran in different directions and they were arrested.”

The police recovered 213 Merino sheep, said Makhele.

The suspects had a white Isuzu vehicle with a GP registration number. 

The two arrested suspects are aged 38 and 41. 

“These arrests will send a clear-cut message to stock theft thieves that in this festive season, we are turning the tide against crime. My appreciation to all farmers who are working together with the police to ensure that levels of crime within the farming community are brought low,” said the acting cluster commander, Maj Gen Solly Lesia.