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Joburg’s most wanted burglar behind bars



A man who allegedly traumatised the community and dozens of Johannesburg residents for years by robbing and even going so far as allegedly forcing his victims to crawl like dogs on all fours, is behind bars.

The man, who cannot be named until he is formally charged, has been in police custody for several months already for house robbery under a false name. He’s in custody following a joint effort by Community Active Protection (CAP) and the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) Serious and Violent Crimes Unit, and was arrested with two others. During the arrest in November last year, which followed a shootout and led to the recovery of a firearm and a stolen vehicle, the suspect was critically wounded.

“He was transported to hospital under police guard,” said CAP Chief Operating Officer Sean Jammy. “During this time, he gave authorities a false name, and the identification process was subsequently delayed due to his injuries.”

A fingerprint picked up by Fairlands Police Station finally identified him last week, linking him to the man police and CAP had been searching for.

He allegedly robbed more than 100 homes in predominantly Jewish areas in a reign of terror over about eight years, earning him the title of Johannesburg’s most wanted criminal.

Sometimes referred to as “The Ghost” or “The Owl”, he was known to use a handgun and operate mostly on his own roughly between the hours of 19:00 and 21:00. He would allegedly stake out residences in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg, often scaling neighbours’ high walls to gain access to properties he had earlier identified. He “did his homework”, according to insiders close to the case.

Once inside the perimeter walls, he would “confidently” confront victims either on their balconies or outside on their patios, or use open windows and sliding doors.

Described as “calm, calculated, and meticulous”, he is tall and in his mid 30s, and would often make himself comfortable in his victims’ homes, helping himself to food and drink and smoking cigarettes. He was known to use one of the vehicles on the property to make his getaway, often leaving it abandoned near Alexandra township.

In some cases, he’d leave on foot, in others, he would be picked up. According to CAP, he would mostly act alone but would on occasion operate with two other suspects.

One security insider said the man had “caused a significant amount of trauma and had mentally terrorised his victims”.

“He would occasionally rough up some of his victims and used crawling as a means of control when there were multiple victims in the house,” he said.

Proof of his ability to manipulate his victims, he often appeared to be considerate. In one case, he offered a victim who was coughing some water, in another, he gave one of his victims who was lying on the floor a pillow. However, he would sometimes show aggression and lock one of the victims alone with him in an adjoining room.

One Johannesburg man who wished to remain anonymous said his family was left traumatised about five years ago after the man gained entry to their home in the greater Glenhazel area through an open sliding door.

“It was about 19:00, the family was eating dinner, and we ignored the dogs barking,” the man said. “The robber appeared with a hood on and cocked his gun, causing the dogs to go mad. From the start, he had us under his control, he was very professional. It was humiliating. Time heals, but we have learnt to be vigilant and jack up our security.

“He was so calm, controlling, and professional. He made us crawl on our knees to one room, where he sat on the bed and smoked a cigarette and made out that he was speaking to a friend on his cellphone,” he said.

“He held a gun to my child’s head, and threatened to shoot our dogs who were barking. His calmness stood out, and he seemed very professional. He stole some jewellery, cash, and laptops, and used my car to get away,” he said.

The man told the SA Jewish Report that the incident had left him and his family shaken.

The suspect has been on the radar of CAP and almost every Johannesburg police station for years. Arrested more than once, he managed to escape custody and proceeded to continue his rampage under false names.

The SAPS Serious and Violent Crimes unit; SAPS JHB K9 unit; JHB Crime Intelligence Unit; and the CAP Special Operations Division initiated a full investigation into a house robbery syndicate late last year, which led to the suspect being wounded, hospitalised, and arrested.

“After further investigation and collaboration between SAPS Provincial Head Office Serious and Violent Crimes Unit and SAPS Fairlands, the true identity of the suspect was established via positive fingerprints with matches and confirms that the suspect arrested in November 2022 is Johannesburg’s ‘most wanted’,” said Jammy.

“This is a significant accomplishment for our teams, and a testament to the determination and dedication of all key role players,” he said. Jammy said the CAP legal department worked closely with members of the SAPS Provincial Head Office Serious and Violent Crimes Unit, and could confirm that the suspect had been denied bail and remains in custody.

He said the man would be charged for a multitude of crimes which occurred throughout Johannesburg, mainly house robberies in Bedfordview, Bryanston, Birdhaven, Emmarentia, Fairlands, Forest Town, Greenside, Glenhazel, Houghton, Linksfield, Northcliff, Morningside, Melrose, Norwood, Oaklands, Parkview, Parktown, Parkwood, Sandton, Sandringham, Senderwood, Strathavon, Saxonwold, and Westcliff.

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  1. Pam

    Feb 16, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    I’m sorry to be critical but it took eight years to catch this guy? With all the technology, electric fences, cameras, panic buttons, CAP, high walls, eight years? No. I’m sorry but no. He should have been nabbed after one month.

  2. Frances Davies

    Feb 18, 2023 at 3:24 pm

    Wow, this is incredible news! It’s amazing to see the collaboration between CAP and the SAPS to bring this man to justice. It’s a relief to hear that he’s been taken off the streets and can no longer terrorize innocent people. My question is, what sort of sentence do you expect him to receive?

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