An apparent new trend in the planning of house robberies has come to light in Polokwane.
According to posts made on several local Community Policing Forums’ (CPF) WhatsApp groups and Facebook pages, the patrolling members have been able to link several people riding bicycles in areas where burglaries increased over the festive season.
Polokwane police spokesperson Captain Ntobeng Phala said the police are looking into this new trend in which burglary syndicates are making use of so-called bike scouts, Review Online reported.
“At the first executive CPF management meeting we will inform all the different CPF groups of the new trend and help them to work out an action plan to have people riding around in areas without any reason removed from the areas,” Phala said.
Resident Julius Burger’s home was burgled on Wednesday, 23 December and again on Sunday, 27 December.
On both days neighbours allegedly saw a man riding a bicycle up and down the street an hour or two before the house was robbed.
“No one took notice of the man as he was passing on a bicycle and not just walking around or sitting outside a house watching people. According to one of my business associates, his home was also broken into in Nirvana over the past weekend and there was also a man seen riding a bicycle up and down the street just hours before the house was burgled,” Burger said.
Maria Mokgohloa, a domestic worker at a residential complex, said the man seen on the bicycle wanted to know some details about people living in the street and the complex, and she told him that she would call the police if he asked her personal information again.
“The man spoke to me one afternoon and asked me about people not having domestic workers and at what time the domestic workers left in the afternoons. I found his questions strange and told him to leave as I was working and would call the police if he came near me again,” Mokgohloa said.
According to Phala, there has also been an increase in the theft of bicycles around the city. It is believed that these bicycles are given to the scouts to gather information.
“We urge residents to lock up their bicycles well as they are becoming a new target.” he added.
– Caxton News Service