Video: Criminal trend threatening schools

Principal, Ms Joyce van der Merwe, told the Middelburg Observer, that a man and woman entered the school yard around 13:30 when the school adjourned.

“The scary thing is, that they pose as parents, and don’t raise any suspicion among staff,” Ms van der Merwe echoed the words of Laerskool C.R. Swart headmaster, Mr Pieter Fouché, who also fell victim to the emerging crime trend in January.

The incident during which Thapelo Bassy Masilela (27), stole Mr Fouché’s laptop from his office shortly after the school adjourned, was also caught on CCTV camera, and led to his immediate arrest after the Middelburg Observer splashed his face on the front page on Friday, February 26.

Parents took to social media platforms, questioning school safety and security measures, and to vent their anger over the arrogance with which Masilela slipped by their playing children.

In Tuesday’s incident, the man and woman can be seen entering the gate where a barrage of children cross the road.

The school’s Grade 1 teacher was on duty at the gate, but didn’t suspect a thing as the duo leisurely strolled past her without a hint of edginess.

First the man entered followed by the woman walking a short distance behind. Both proceeded to the Grade RR class, where they stole a purse.

Then they targeted a Grade 1 class where they snatched the teacher’s Samsung A3 from her desk.

They exited the classroom where it seems that they pondered their escape, but the woman stops the man, points to the finance office at the reception area, and they decide to target this office next.

There they stole a Lenovo laptop worth R8000, and all fear of being caught was abandoned by this time.

From the finance office they proceed to the Grade 4 class where they loot a 13″ Macbook and 750d Canon camera with 50-100mm lens, worth R50 000 that the teacher brought during travel overseas.

In each of the thefts, the man takes the bag from the woman then enters the class, commits the crime, and hands the bag back to her.

She remains stationed outside every classroom, engaged in a serious discussion on her cell phone, as their act goes on.

The man then leaves the school premises with the woman short on his heels, clutching her bag stuffed with the valuable electronics.

Both got into a VW Polo and sped off in a hurry.

“Its evident that they both knew a lot about the layout of the school,” Ms Van der Merwe told the paper on Wednesday, adding that some pupils at the school allege that they’ve definitely seen them before.

“Teachers were on duty at various points around the school, to oversee the children’s safety,” Ms Van der Merwe says.

“I truly hope that the SAPS will catch these miscreants, like when Thapelo Masilela was caught, after the Middelburg Observer printed his face,” Ms Van der Merwe said.

• Residents who recognize the man and woman are urged to contact Col Phila Mahlangu on 013 249 1402/6 or 076 942 5455.

Read previous story and see video here:

Update: Laptop thief caught

Video: Arrogant thief steals principal’s laptop

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Gerhard Rheeder

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