COP members, Kevin Sueltz, Abul Shaik, Craig Coldron and Louis van Ryneveld.
WHILE everyone was sleeping in the early hours of Wednesday morning, 15 March, members of the Bluff’s Community Orientated Policing (COP) team collared a housebreaker and recovered stolen goods.
In the early hours, reports on the COP emergency and alerts WhatsApp group were shared about two men seen jumping over a wall in Vimy Road, followed by a second sighting in Devon and Lloyd Roads. This time a description of one was circulated – a man in black clothes with a backpack.
The COP reaction and rapid response units kicked into action, patrolling the area where the pair was last seen. Unknowningly being stalked, the potential housebreakers continued on their illicit yard hopping.
Another report put them in Marathon Road, so Louis van Ryneveld and Craig Coldron walked the area and were soon rewarded.
“We saw two men who, on spotting us, split up and sprinted off in different directions,” said van Ryneveld.
Ignoring the little voice in the back of their minds, whispering about the risk of chasing danger through the dark, the duo pursued.
Adrenalin pumping, they took on bushes, stairs and whatever else impeded their paths to catch their quarry.”We caught up with him at a substation. He was trying to climb over the barbed wire fence,” said Van Ryneveld.
“I rushed to the fence and saw an area where I could crawl under to try cut him off,” said Coldron. “As the man was trying to get over the fence, he got caught in the barbed wire and tumbled down, smashing to the ground,” he added.
Coldron and van Ryneveld had their man. They found a laptop, Nike sandals, a screwdriver and a jacket on him, which were positively identified as stolen by the owner of a house in Frederick Avenue. “It felt good making the arrest. Now there is one less criminal on the street,” said Coldron.
“And this gives us further motivation to carry on with what we do,” added van Ryneveld, to which Coldron finished: “What we do, we do because of our passion for the community of the Bluff. Thanks to Kevin Sueltz, who is always there to assist us and the community in any medical emergency, which makes doing what we do easier.”
COP chairman, Rake Jeeves expressed his pride in the team. “Well done to our COP volunteers for another arrest and to the members of the public who continuously reported incidents on the COP
group, which led to the arrest,” said Jeeves.
“We believe the suspects are responsible for a spate of housebreakings recently. Our members have been out every single morning from about 2am for over a week now, waiting for this gang to make a mistake and it has paid off. They tracked the suspects for three hours before catching up with them and making the arrest.
The importance and effectiveness of COP’s emergency and alert WhatsApp group, together with a full-time controller and Blue Security control room monitoring the WhatsApp group, with the COP reaction
and rapid response unit volunteers can’t be underestimated.
With the public’s help, we have incidents reported to us in real time, which makes tracking suspects far easier. Working closely with SAPS, Metro Police and Blue Security, COP has in itself become a private police force of sorts made up entirely of volunteers,” added Rake.
Another 20 new members were signed to COP this week alone, ensuring that through the spirit of altruism, the Bluff is protected from would-be criminals, and the community can sleep soundly in their beds, while volunteers stalk the night.