File picture: Skyler Reid

Cape Town - There was drama at a Cape Flats court on Friday when it was thought that a cop, who allegedly robbed a tuck shop with a police-issue gun, had escaped from holding cells.
Constable Zeya Olwethu, 24, and his alleged accomplices, Jenimo Solomon, 18, and Tariq Meiners, 20, made their first appearance at the Bellville Magistrates’ Court where they were charged with business robbery, the unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of stolen property.

But an incompetent policeman apparently made a system error and released the trio after their brief appearance.

Once the mistake was realised, cops opened a case of escape but the three were quick to turn themselves in.

Police spokesperson, Captain FC van Wyk, says the trio were released by mistake.

“A case of escape was opened and a case of aiding in escape was opened against the member responsible,” he said.

Read: Cop, two friends bust for using 'SAPS guns' in robbery

“All three suspects were arrested again later and are back in custody. A disciplinary case will also be investigated against the member responsible.”

The trio is back in court on Monday.

Solomon’s mother, Chantal Solomon, told the Daily Voice her son even showed her stamp on his hand to prove they were let go.

“He said he is free to go home and I was surprised and asked him why is he free. He showed me the stamp on his hand and said the cop who had booked them in the morning said they were free to leave,” explains Chantal.

“But not too long after leaving court, we received a phone call from the police that we had to bring our son back to Bellville Police Station as there was an error.”

She says police footage proved the three did not escape but were released.

“This is bad because this could have messed up my son’s case, I mean he is a first-time offender,” says the worried mother.

“Whatever happened on Wednesday, my son knows he must face the consequences. He doesn’t know this Olwethu.”

The mom says after her son did not return home with their blue VW Golf last week, she posted a missing person alert on the Manenberg Gangwatch Facebook page before she discovered he was arrested.

Olwethu, a new recruit, was part of the Nyanga Stabilisation Unit when he was arrested on Wednesday in Delft.

It is alleged that he booked out two 9mm firearms and an R5 rifle before picking up Solomon, who works for Pick * Pay.

Cops say Olwethu and Solomon were driving a blue Golf when they allegedly robbed a Somali-owned tuck shop in N2 Gateway, and made off two cartons of Chicago and JFK entjies.

The third suspect, Meiners, was nabbed at a house in Delft after Olwethu told cops where to find the R5 rifle. Cops found the rifle hidden between a bed base and mattress.

Meiners is also a Pick * Pay employee.