Members of the Nomzamo Neighbourhood Watch seized a number of stolen items at New Year which were linked to several house burglaries in Mlungisi.
Leader of the organisation Andile Zondi said after following leads on what he indicated was an existing robbery syndicate, more than 20 plasma screen TVs were recovered, plus laptops, home theatre sound systems and cell phones. “We have been searching for a suspect since June last year, trying to find someone who is known in the area and is involved in committing these crimes. Two days before new year we went to look for this young man who apparently lives in Newvale. We found him at a house together with his friends. He did not give us any problems, and immediately confessed to stealing and selling some of the items. He took us to a foreign national to whom he claims to have sold these items. We called the police and our search led us to another house where several of the items were discovered.”
Zondi said four people were arrested, including two foreign nationals, in connection with the recovery. “We then made an appeal for people to come forward to identify their belongings and are still trying to trace owners. These criminals use mystery potions to commit these crimes. We appeal to everyone to be alert and vigilant. Residents of Mlungisi need to conduct a huge raid because people’s belongings are kept in some of these shacks.”
A resident who did not want to be named and whose house was broken into around November last year expressed his gratitude to the organisation. “They broke in and stole my TV, tool boxes and a bicycle. I opened a case with the police and someone advised that I report the matter to the neighbourhood watch. The organisation was a great help. We found the culprits. They did not even hesitate. I got my belongings back. Criminals are scared of this organisation and as a result I decided to join.”
Another resident Zaza Sishuba said the burglary happened on Christmas day when she received a call from her home security company after midnight. “I was not at my house when this happened. I was at my family home. They broke a window and stole my TV. I do not know if they stole anything else at this point, the TV was the only thing missing. I opened a case and informed the Nomzamo Neighbourhood Watch. Joining the organisation was not a waste of time. They go out of their way to help people in our community,” said Sishuba.
Zondi encouraged community members to join the organisation, which has existed for six years, to help root out crime. “We have a R50 joining fee which does not comply to school goers, the elderly and people with disabilities. We are, however, giving people an opportunity to join free of charge for a month.”
Police spokesperson captain Lariane Jonker confirmed that the suspects had appeared in court on January 4. “All cases were remanded to January 25 and suspects were released on bail. So far three TVs and one laptop have been positively identified,” she said.