In early March 2009, as I arrived at my office in the Twin Chimneys property, it was to find that someone had broken the security bar door and opened my office. Besides about R10,000-00 in power tools, they went off with a lot of valuable personal items including my father’s WWII medals. The robbers had emptied my desk drawers onto the floor. They even stole two large plastic tubs in which to load all the loot. Spending the whole morning with the police, I gave them as complete a list I could of items I claimed to have been stolen. It was very not very accurate as I could not remember everything in the desk drawers. The fingerprint man came out from Oudtshoorn as well, and the CID came out the following day. I gave them the details again and also the name of a witness to whom the thieves had tried to sell some of my goods; some printing cartridges and my Dictaphone.
Two weeks later, while in Uniondale, I went to see the CID cop, Sgt. Jacobs, who is handling my robbery. He showed me my little spirit-level, a dagger and a Dictaphone all taken in the robbery but I knew these had not been listed. He claimed that they had been retrieved by his ‘informer’ while she visited Zhivago, the local fence and gangster. (Saw them on his bedside table, he told me!!) How did the so-called informer know that the items were mine? It is said that the ‘informer’ is related to the cop, too. And I was asked to pay R300-00 to the ‘informer’ for retrieving the goods! Very interesting. Now that I had the Dictaphone back, I thought I’d put new batteries in it to use whenever I met up with the crooked cop.
I got an interview with the chief of CID in Uniondale, a Captain Benn, and reported the situation about the “recovered” goods. He admitted that it was not required to pay informers as they receive payment from the police, anyway. He said he would look into Sgt Jacobs actions, but avoided the subject whenever I asked what had happened. (Soon afterwards, Jacobs was promoted to Warrant Officer and transferred to Johannesburg…)
On 27th May I had to attend court as a witness. Eventually the case came up – they had a man named ‘Getuie’ Borchards accused of complicity and he was in the dock when I was questioned. I simply repeated my statement that I had found my building broken in to and agreed that the list of items stolen is accurate, after trying to tell them that it was incomplete. Also that I had received 3 items recovered by the police. From then I was not allowed to re-enter the court to see the rest of the case which was very frustrating as I was burning with curiosity, both for personal interest as well as from a crime-writer’s point of view!
There seemed to be four men involved in the robbery. Three of them swore, so help me god, that they were all playing cards with their mate, the one in the dock, at the night of the break-in, so he was released. No reference to fingerprints. No statement by the man who was offered the goods for sale. And so the matter rested; unsolved…