Joy as elu­sive ‘ninja’ is nabbed

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - SAKHILE NDLAZI

RES­I­DENTS of Gars­fontein in Pre­to­ria yes­ter­day took to so­cial me­dia to re­act with de­light at the ar­rest of the so-called “fence ninja”.

Se­cu­rity groups in the com­mu­nity said he was recog­nised when buying “pap ‘n vleis” at a local su­per­mar­ket.

He was in­ter­cepted by a mem­ber of se­cu­rity group Ac­con So­lu­tions and ar­rested by a po­lice re­servist.

Po­lice spokesper­son Cap­tain Ilze Jones said: “The re­servist im­me­di­ately called for back-up.

“Two other re­servists as­sisted in ar­rest­ing the sus­pect, who was taken to the Gars­fontein po­lice sta­tion.”

Jones said the sus­pect was linked to cases dat­ing back to Septem­ber 2016.

“He has been linked to crimes of house­break­ing, theft and tres­pass­ing,” Jones pointed out.

Res­i­dents staged a protest out­side the Gars­fontein po­lice sta­tion when the man was ap­pre­hended in March, but he was re­leased the next day, ap­par­ently be­cause no cases had been opened.

How­ever, a poster with his photograph and the de­scrip­tion of “fence ninja” and “tuindw­ergie” (gar­den gnome) with his name and four aliases had been cir­cu­lated.

Res­i­dents re­sponded to the call by Gars­fontein po­lice sta­tion com­man­der Colonel Ker­win Solomons to lay charges.

But for close to three months the “ninja” con­tin­ued to evade ar­rest de­spite nu­mer­ous post­ings on the sub­urb’s se­cu­rity What­sApp groups that he had been seen or had left ev­i­dence of his pres­ence.

The man has been ha­rass­ing the Gars­fontein com­mu­nity polic­ing precinct for more than eight months, en­ter­ing and leav­ing prop­er­ties via back walls, out of sight of se­cu­rity and po­lice pa­trol cars.

One res­i­dent re­cently de­scribed look­ing out a win­dow when her dog growled and see­ing him slip silently “like a snake” into her neighbour’s yard.

Many res­i­dents spent thou­sands of rand up­grad­ing their se­cu­rity with ra­zor wire, elec­tric fenc­ing, beams and alarms, but still he man­aged to gain en­try and evade ar­rest.

How­ever, po­lice have con­firmed that he is now in de­ten­tion and can be linked to as many as 30 charges.

Res­i­dents con­grat­u­lated those in­volved in his ar­rest with many thumbs-up and clap­ping emojis, as well as ex­press­ing the wish that he not be set free again any time soon.

Pre­to­ria News editor Val Boje, who lives in the sub­urb and was part of a del­e­ga­tion that met Solomons in March, ex­pressed the com­mu­nity’s re­lief at the news of the ar­rest.

“This man has caused great anx­i­ety for us all for a long time.

“Our thanks go to those who have now en­sured his ar­rest.

“Tonight we will all sleep bet­ter for it,” she said.

He had been nick­named a “fence ninja” for his abil­ity to scale walls in Gars­fontein.

For months, res­i­dents in the sub­urb were in­creas­ingly frus­trated and fright­ened as he moved from block to block, steal­ing but never get­ting caught.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.