War memorabilia stolen from Museum

ct museum pic) (26507643) INLSA STRIPPED: Les Gale, 66, a member of the servicemens organisation, Memorable Order of Tin Hats (Moths), stands near a cabinet in the Simons Town Museum that used to contain badges that were stolen last week. The museum has been burgled five times in three weeks. Photo: COURTNEY AFRICA

Caryn Dolley

THE curator of the Simon’s Town Museum, burgled five times in three weeks, fears that thieves will target it again.

Artefacts – some dating back about a century – have been taken.

Criminals breaking into the historical building are so brazen they are ripping security gates off doors to gain access to the museum.

In the latest incident last week, the “shell hole”, a room used for meetings by Memorable Order of Tin Hats (Moths) members who are war veterans, was broken into, and artefacts stolen included medals, ceremonial daggers and a brass badge.

Yesterday, the museum’s curator, Cathy Salter-Jansen, said some of the stolen items dated back to the Boer War, World War I and World War II.

The police had managed to recover some of the medals.

She added that the items had been sold to small-scale antique dealers in the Muizenberg area and dealers therefore had to be more careful when buying goods.

Salter-Jansen said last Monday’s burglary was the fifth in three weeks.

“We think people will keep trying (to break in)... There’s a huge problem with metal theft,” she said.

Aside from items being stolen, Salter-Jansen noted that the room had been trashed, burglars had defecated in it and cupboards had been broken.

She said the first burglary happened at the end of last month, and it was suspected that the same group of thieves were repeatedly targeting the building.

To boost security, Salter-Jansen said, an extra alarm had been installed in the museum. She said arrests had been made, but after appearing in court, the suspects had been released.

Yesterday, police spokesman Frederick van Wyk said a case of housebreaking and theft at a business had been opened.

He said medals, brass items and other war memorabilia were stolen.

Van Wyk said four suspects had been arrested and appeared in court on Monday.

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