A case of good twin, bad twin
By Shaun Smillie
It could be the case of good twin, bad twin. A fugitive caught in a hastily set up roadblock in the Northern Cape was found to have been using his brother's identity and had been on the run for two years.
But for Dirk Dippenaar it could have all been different if the police hadn't bothered to run a fingerprint check.
His luck ran out when detectives from Kuruman stopped the white Mazda 4x4 bakkie he was driving and discovered nine steenbok, a bat-eared fox and spring hares in cages on the back of the vehicle - nothing too out of the ordinary in a province where poaching is a common crime.
"It is believed that the animals were destined for private zoos as well as other collectors in Gauteng," said police spokesperson Superintendent Hendrik Swart. The animals were handed over to nature conservation officials.
The man claimed that his name was Jacobus or Koos Dippenaar, and it could have remained just another poaching incident in the desert province, if it hadn't been for that fingerprint check.
The loops and whorls on his fingertips revealed the truth - Koos Dippenaar was in fact Dirk Dippenaar.
The only thing that he didn't change was his age, 45.
He had been using his twin brother's identity. His fingerprints told the story of a fugitive wanted across the country for a number of crimes committed over the past two years.
Dippenaar appeared in the Kuruman magistrate's court on Thursday and was to be sentenced on charges under the Nature Conservation Act for smuggling wild animals without documentation.
But his sentencing was postponed to April 15 to allow time for a psychological assessment of Dippenaar.
However, once Dippenaar's case is over in Kuruman, he will have to appear in Pretoria on charges of theft, fraud, and possession of drugs.
These cases were opened at the Sunnyside and Moot police stations in Pretoria and date back to 2005.
He will then also have to make a stop at the magistrate's court in Bronkhorstspruit on charges of theft of a motor vehicle.
Dippenaar's run of good fortune ended on the afternoon of February 5 on the road between Kuruman and Kathu.
A tipoff led police to stop the 4x4 bakkie he was driving. He was then arrested.