South Africa: Lockdown - More Liquor Looting As 3 Arrested in Stellenbosch After Store Break-in

A police officer adjusts a colleague’s mask (file photo).

The number of incidents of liquor looting during the lockdown continues to increase following the arrest of three men who broke into a bottle store in Stellenbosch on Sunday morning.

According to police, three male suspects allegedly broke into the store after breaking a window and stole an undisclosed amount of alcohol before fleeing in a vehicle.

"A local security company vehicle on patrol in the area was flagged by a passer-by who alerted the guards to the burglary," police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said in a statement.

"They circulated the information and drove in the direction the vehicle was alleged to have sped. Meanwhile, traffic officials manning a roadblock nearby saw the vehicle approaching and stopped it."

Metro police at the roadblock found the stolen alcohol in the vehicle and immediately arrested the suspects.

Potelwa said the suspects, aged 43, 33 and 29, are expected to appear in the Stellenbosch Magistrate's court on Tuesday on charges of burglary and possession of stolen property.

"The integrated efforts of the traffic officers and security guards are commended by SAPS management as the Province deals with a spate of burglaries at liquor stores."

News24 previously reported that a police investigation led to an arrest after a truck transporting liquor from Paarl to Table Bay Harbour for exportation was hijacked on Thursday.

"It is alleged that the driver was hijacked by suspects during a mechanical breakdown en route to the harbour," Western Cape police spokesperson Colonel Andrè Traut said on Sunday.

"The truck and trailer were both later discovered in Mitchells Plain without the cargo."

Investigations led to the arrest of a male suspect in his thirties on Saturday.

Earlier on Sunday, the police confirmed 21 suspects have been arrested following 16 incidents of alleged looting in the Western Cape since the start of the lockdown. Two police officers have also been arrested for allegedly buying alcohol worth R4000.

In Mpumalanga, two police officers were arrested on Friday night for defeating the ends of justice.

According to police, the officers were stopped and found to have been illegally escorting three bakkies, each loaded to the brim with alcohol.

"The three vehicles allegedly belong to a tavern owner who was also arrested with two other drivers for contravening the lockdown regulations in relation the restriction on the movement of liquor," police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said.

Police Minister Bheki Cele issued a stern warning to those breaking regulations, saying that they would be dealt with decisively.

"The general crime picture since the Covid-19 lockdown continues to reflect a decrease and such incidents must therefore be intercepted and the perpetrators arrested, Cele said.

"Our law-abiding citizens must continue to work with law enforcement against criminals as we together ensure the survival of the human race against Covid-19."


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