A female cat burglar was caught red-handed in the early hours of Monday with stolen computer hard drives after a break-in at the Metro Centre, headquarters of the City of Johannesburg.
The woman was also found with tools used to disassemble computer hardware.
“In the early hours of Monday (7 February 2022) morning, I was alerted to yet another break-in at the Metro Centre, where the suspect was found hiding under a table on the second floor, which houses offices of the Electoral Commission (IEC),” said Johannesburg Mayor Dr. Mpho Phalatse.
“What is most distressing about this break-in is that this is not the first time the suspect has broken into the Metro Centre nor is it the first time she has been arrested, processed by the SA Police Service, and subsequently released due to a lack of evidence.”
In the most recent incident, which occurred last month, the same burglar – identified via CCTV – stole 30 hard drives from the Group Legal and Development Planning Departments.
“It cannot be that the nerve centre of service delivery in the City is continuously targeted by a single criminal, who when arrested then evades prosecution by the State’s criminal justice system,” said Dr. Phalatse.
“The suspect, who clearly has a penchant for the City’s computer hardware, has on several occasions evaded prosecution for similar alleged crimes due to a lack of evidence.
“This is both alarming and frustrating, as it shows deep inefficiencies in the national government’s criminal justice system, and it hampers our deliberate efforts as the multi-party government to build a safe and secure city – a priority of this administration.”
The mayor said her multi-party government of the city will review security protocols in order to prevent such an incident from happening again.
“The safety and security of the Metro Centre must stand as a symbol of the safety and security of the City and its residents,” said Dr. Phalatse.
The mayor said the police can “cannot let alleged serial robber to once again escape prosecution”.
Dr. Phalatse added: “I would like to commend the Johannesburg Metro Police Department for their swift response resulting in the on-site arrest of a female suspect at around 02h00 this morning at the Metro Centre – headquarters of the City of Johannesburg.”