‘Skop, skiet en don­ner’ in P­lett

Knysna-Plett Herald - - Voorblad - Yo­lan­de S­tan­der

S­ta­ke­outs, a high-speed cha­se, a shoot­out and mil­li­ons of rands worth of d­rugs… W­hi­le this mig­ht sound li­ke sce­nes from an acti­on-c­ri­me mo­vie, this is w­hat hap­pe­ned w­hen P­let­ten­berg Bay and Knys­na c­ri­me fig­h­ters stop­ped bur­gla­ry and can­na­bis-smug­gling sus­pects in their tracks this week.

The sce­ne star­ted to un­fold in P­let­ten­berg Bay on Mon­day nig­ht w­hen a sus­pi­ci­ous-look­ing vehi­cle was spot­ted.

The town's c­ri­me p­re­ven­ti­on as­so­ci­a­ti­on (PBCPA) o­pe­ra­ti­ons he­ad Ot­to O­li­vier said its tacti­cal re­spon­se u­nit has been wor­king clo­se­ly with lo­cal po­li­ce in fol­lo­wing up on le­ads in­vol­ving a gang of sus­pects al­le­ge­d­ly in­vol­ved in se­ver­al Gar­den Rou­te bur­gla­ries w­he­re gai­ning access to pro­per­ties through roofs was the mo­dus o­pe­ran­di.

This ty­pe of c­ri­me has pla­gued the a­rea, es­pe­ci­al­ly P­let­ten­berg Bay, for se­ver­al mont­hs, and saw the theft of mil­li­ons of rands' worth of cash, je­wel­le­ry, e­lec­tro­nic e­quip­ment and ot­her va­lu­a­bles. The most re­cent tar­get a­rea seems to ha­ve been Keur­booms w­he­re, du­ring most in­ci­dents, the sus­pects wa­t­ched the ho­mes ca­re­ful­ly be­fo­re stri­king w­hi­le the o­w­ners we­re out.

On high a­lert

O­li­vier said one of the vehi­cles i­den­ti­fied in the in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on was spot­ted en­te­ring Bi­tou from the Eas­tern Ca­pe last week. On Mon­day, this sa­me vehi­cle, with four sus­pects, was spot­ted by one of the u­nit’s mem­bers mo­ving out of K­wa­no­kut­hu­la, he ad­ded. “The mem­ber fol­lo­wed the car and on his a­lert, po­li­ce de­tecti­ves mo­bi­li­sed to in­ter­cept. A high-speed cha­se en­su­ed w­hen the sus­pects un­for­tu­na­te­ly spot­ted the tail in the Longs­hips a­rea. The vehi­cle was ho­we­ver la­ter lost in Qol­we­ni,” he said.

The tacti­cal re­spon­se u­nit and de­tecti­ves re­spon­ded by f­looding the a­rea and du­ring a me­ti­cu­lous se­arch of the a­rea, O­li­vier said, the sus­pects we­re spot­ted jum­ping from the vehi­cle and fleeing to­wards hou­ses in Qol­we­ni. “De­tecti­ves quick­ly se­cu­red the car for e­vi­den­ce w­hi­le the rest ga­ve cha­se. One sus­pect was spot­ted jum­ping a wall and in his at­tempt to get a­way, he fi­red a shot at the tacti­cal u­nit mem­ber who fi­red back. As t­he­re was a child­ren’s day­ca­re cen­t­re ne­ar­by, the cha­se was hal­ted so as not to pla­ce the child­ren or the re­si­dents at any risk.”

The va­ri­ous c­ri­me fig­h­ters we­re re­lent­less in their purs­uit, ho­we­ver, which led to the ar­rest of a sus­pect. O­li­vier said this was ac­com­plis­hed with the help of Qol­we­ni re­si­dents w­ho­se “in­tel” led Bi­tou law en­for­ce­ment of­fi­cers to w­he­re the sus­pect was hi­ding in a hou­se. He was ar­res­ted and han­ded o­ver to po­li­ce.

No backing do­wn

C­ri­me fig­h­ters did not gi­ve up on the ot­her three sus­pects either and con­ti­nu­ed with their sur­veil­lan­ce of the a­rea.

“We knew the sus­pects we­re not from P­lett and the­re­fo­re co­ve­r­ed key points in a­re­as w­he­re we knew they mig­ht be lying low.”

At a­bout 21:00 that nig­ht the te­am spot­ted the sus­pects lo­a­ding bags from one vehi­cle in­to a­not­her in K­wa­no­kut­hu­la be­fo­re speeding off in the di­recti­on of Knys­na. O­li­vier said they im­me­di­a­te­ly ga­ve cha­se.

“Du­ring a high-speed cha­se, se­ver­al in­ter­town c­ri­me-fig­hting part­ners as­sis­ted w­hen a Knys­na po­li­ce of­fi­cer ma­na­ged to stop the vehi­cle at Nek­kies. The three sus­pects we­re ar­res­ted and the vehi­cle se­ar­ched. O­li­vier said po­li­ce found that the bags they had e­ar­lier ob­ser­ved con­tai­ned can­na­bis.

The PBCPA’s Ma­ri­us Ven­ter said the bags con­tai­ned 7kg of high-qua­li­ty can­na­bis, the sa­me as w­hat was found du­ring a mas­si­ve bust last week, with a to­tal street va­lue just short of R17-mil­li­on.

Lo­cal po­li­ce con­fir­med the ar­res­ts and Knys­na’s Cap­tain De­wald Kit­ching said the three sus­pects caug­ht ne­ar Nek­kies, a­ged be­t­ween 24 and 26, we­re ex­pected to ap­pear in the Knys­na Ma­gi­stra­te’s Court this week.

Sus­pects ar­res­ted at Nek­kies du­ring a P­let­ten­berg Bay bust. INSETS: Can­na­bis con­fis­ca­ted du­ring P­let­ten­berg Bay busts.

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