One of Cape Town’s notorious “crowbar gangs” has been snared in a dramatic undercover police operation – at a Cape police station.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut reported on Wednesday night that police officers had swooped on a policeman’s house at the Faure police base on Wednesday and arrested a police officer based at the Kleinvlei police station, along with four members of the “crowbar gang” at the policeman’s official police house.
Traut said the five had been arrested “on suspicion that they have been involved in several house-breaking cases in Kirstenhof and surrounding areas where a crowbar has been used to gain access to residences”.
Police also seized a crucial weapon in the gang’s arsenal: a vehicle that has gained notoriety after being captured by security cameras at sites where the gang has struck.
Traut said: “The vehicle is believed to have been used in these crimes, a grey Kia Rio.
“This vehicle was reported stolen during a house robbery in Primrose, KwaZulu-Natal, in July this year and has since been operating in the Cape Town area with cloned number plates for a disguise.
“Surveillance cameras have captured this vehicle on several occasions while the suspects operated in their chosen areas.
“The circumstances surrounding the arrest of the suspects and their involvement in these cases are still under investigation. Once they have been charged, they will make a court appearance in Wynberg,” Traut said.
A police source described the gang’s capture as “a breakthrough”.
One or more “crowbar gangs” struck most recently in August in Rondebosch East, and were captured by CCTV cameras.
In May, several crowbar-style break ins and robberies were reported in Rondebosch East, Crawford and Lansdowne, and residents responded by boosting their home security. In June, a notorious “crowbar gang” was caught on CCTV camera as they robbed the Kloof Veterinary Hospital in Green Point.
Armed response personnel were on the scene within three minutes of the hospital’s alarm being triggered, but it was too late.
By that time the four men had stolen two computer screens and a number of computer hard drives, and driven off in a getaway vehicle.
Original Source: Cape Argus