A Cape Town man, thought to be mentally ill, became embroiled in a drawn-out cat-and-mouse game with the police and emergency services as he hid in a tree, in a room in a private flat, and then finally climbed on top of a block of flats and threw roof tiles at the police, all while naked.
Gardens Neighbourhood Watch chairperson Anthony Lees said the man, who is known in the area as “a bit of a troublemaker” and had spent some time in prison for the theft of carpets in Roeland Street in the CBD, had been spotted naked and jumping over walls in Gardens early on Wednesday.
“He even jumped over two electric fences,” said Lees of the bizarre sequence of events which began between 02:00 and 02:30 on Wednesday, and only ended much later in the day.
He said the stand-off began after a stint of wall jumping was heard in the early hours, and the man then climbed up a tree and sat in the high branches, naked, “talking gibberish”.
He then jumped onto another property and vanished. Various neighbourhood watches in the area helped the police and law enforcement officers in their search for him.
He was eventually located in a block of flats in Mill Street, holed up in a room in a unit on the third floor.
“The tenant came home to find him barricaded in the room and called the police,” Lees said.
The stand-off continued, with the man lunging at the police with cutlery he had found in the flat.
“It was really crazy,” said Lees.
He had defecated in the room and had splashed paint, which was being used for renovations, all over the flat.
The man broke through the ceiling and teetered on the roof of the building, throwing roof tiles at the police.
Power lines in the area were switched off for his safety and he was eventually brought down in a fire services crane and basket.
Lees said he was sedated by ambulance services and was admitted to hospital for mental observation.
In a statement Lees released of the incident, he said: “Well done to the disciplined [police] members and professional firefighting team who took part in this 18-hour ordeal.”
Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk confirmed the incident involving a man described as “mentally challenged”.
“The circumstances surrounding this matter are being investigated,” he said.