Community members catch 'school robbers' in the act
Angry residents in Orlando apprehended a pair of thugs who had attempted to break in and steal learning material at Ditawana Primary School on Saturday.
The pair were caught while inside one of the classrooms as they were rummaging through the room’s contents. A video of their capture and assault surfaced on social media on Saturday evening. A woman in the video can be heard pleading with the angry community members to forgive the pair and set them free.
However Cpt Kay Makhubele said three suspects were arrested and found in possession of stolen items. “The three are also linked to another break in at a diffrent school in the same area,” Makhubele said.
A community member who asked not to be named said they have been reading and hearing about school burglaries but did not think that a school in their community would fall prey to criminals.
“It's sad that people are taking advantage of this coronavirus issue. This school is not for wealthy children, the community here is struggling, we are not rich. Why would someone try to steal from a school that barely has anything. They got what they deserved,” said the community member.
Schools have been shutdown since 26 March 2020 due to the global pandemic of Covid-19; this had led to criminals capitalising on the situation. Over 350 schools have been broken into for equipment or have been burnt. A total number of 67 schools were broken into in Gauteng alone.
Police spokesperson Cpt Mavela Masondo said 41 suspects were arrested in Gauteng by last week and that three more suspects were arrested in Sebokeng. Masondo said Gauteng Provincial Commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela appointed a team of experienced and senior police officers to investigate and identify the perpetrators
."I am pleased with the progress made by the team so far and I believe more suspects will be arrested soon. We are appealing to the community to work with the police in exposing those with intentions of depriving our children a better education in a conducive learning environment" Mawela said.
On Thursday, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi applauded the police for arresting suspects linked to school break-ins.
“We are delighted, the police have done sterling work in arresting these recalcitrants who are persistent to disregard regulations enforced during this critical moment of the lockdown. We don’t understand where they find time to commit these crimes because everyone should be at home,” he said.
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