The man known as the “Garsfontein fence-ninja” has finally been caught again, thanks to a vigilant police reservist who recognised his face at the Pick n Pay centre in Garsfontein, Pretoria, yesterday.
The 37-year old suspected “fence-ninja” is known to jump over fences and steal from homes in the area, and has been sought since September last year.
He has been caught on camera numerous times, stealing, breaking in or scaling the walls of his victims. Garsfontein police spokesperson Captain Ilze Jones confirmed that he can be positively linked to at least 15 cases of theft, burglary and trespassing.
“The reservist was in Pick n Pay when he noticed the suspect. He immediately alerted the community security and the police. After noticing he was being watched, the suspect pretended that he was buying things, but it was too late for him.
“He was arrested shortly after and is currently being held at the Garsfontein police station. The suspect never had any contact with his victims and he never used any violence,” Jones said.
The fence-ninja was arrested in March this year after he was spotted by residents in the early hours. But he was released shortly after the community handed him over to the police.
The police at the time stated that the arrest was not lawful. This caused a huge outcry from the community and they even held a protest outside the station. Jones said since then the police have done everything to get him back behind bars.
Addressing residents back then, anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee questioned the police’s actions.
He also appealed to residents to give the police the “space and time to probe the case fully and bring the suspect to book”.
Abramjee yesterday thanked the police for the rearrest.
“The suspect must now be convicted and jailed. Perhaps residents must go back to the police station to thank the cops.”
Jones said the fence-ninja would appear in court tomorrow.
“We want to make sure that wehave all our dockets ready [so as] to present a solid case against the suspect,” she said.