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Cape Town - Police have arrested two members of the “crowbar gang” who were filmed fleeing the scene of a burglary in Brackenfell last week.
Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said two suspects were arrested at their homes in Gugulethu on Friday and on Monday.
The CCTV footage was apparently crucial in the arrests, and police say they know the identities of three other gang members.
Gangs of thieves who use crowbars or other tools to break open the front doors of homes have been robbing indiscriminately in recent weeks.
Uitzicht Neighbourhood Watch member Henry Kasner said last week that 24 houses were targeted in the greater Bellville area in a single week earlier this month.
“These are professional criminals. They are experts in blending into their surroundings. They do not wear masks, they dress well and they drive fancy getaway cars. They don’t speed and calmly go about their business in the neighbourhood where they are burgling so as not to attract any attention,” he said.
Four men were filmed by CCTV as they ran from a home, one carrying a flat screen television and another a white bag in each hand, in Protea Heights. The incident occurred in daylight.
Kasner said there were usually five members in a gang - a getaway driver and four burglars who targeted different areas of a house once the front door or gate had been breached.
The use of CCTV footage and social media to circulate images had been crucial in a number of arrests of burglars using this method, Kasner said.
“It is a great example of how ordinary citizens and social networks can assist police in bringing criminals to book,” he said.
“Often a photo of an identifiable vehicle is what stands between a criminal being caught and going free.”