Although crime remains a serious concern, the South African Police Service (SAPS) shared some of its lighter moments of 2010 with the public.
“The fact that South African prisons are over-flowing is testimony to the excellent work of the women and men in blue,” Brigadier Sally de Beer said.
“It also shows that criminals aren’t quite as sharp as they like to think.”
One incident she mentioned included a canine-loving Cape Town housebreaker with a penchant for trying on new outfits.
“In Cape Town a 28-year-old man decided to break into a house with his dog as an accomplice.
The lure of the green wetsuit
“The man, on discovering a green wetsuit in the home’s garage couldn’t resist trying it on. When the owner of the house arrived home the suspect fled, yes, still wearing the wetsuit.”
The man was “not hard to find” and police soon arrested him for housebreaking.
“There isn’t a charge in our books for being just plain silly,” De Beer said.
In another incident, police reacted to a tip-off in Johannesburg about a man dealing in drugs.
“On arrival at the house they did not find any sign of drug sales, but the occupant, in his haste to hide his tiny personal stash of dagga, wrapped it up in a copy of his own identity document. Tsk tsk.”
In the east of Pretoria, a restaurant robbery did not go as planned for four armed robbers who entered the premises one morning at about 1am.
“A wide-awake patron switched the restaurant lights off and in the darkness the suspects fired off about 12 shots.
“The injuries? Only to the robbers themselves.”
One of the robbers died from two head wounds and another was wounded in the chest and later arrested.
Even using a variety of modes of transport did not keep a car thief from getting caught while being followed by a police helicopter.
When the man driving a stolen car realised he was being followed by the helicopter he abandoned the vehicle, crossed the road and got into another car.
A while later he decided to proceed on foot.
“Perhaps he thought our airborne law enforcers can’t follow a suspect on foot.
“Eventually our chopper pilot and crew got fed up with this guy’s antics, landed on the road and before they could even reach the suspect a member of the public came charging out of his house and rugby-tackled the suspect down to the ground.”
Finally, in the Kwazulu-Natal Midlands, police arrested three fake traffic officers who had made their own fake “speed camera” which they used to stop motorists and them hijack them.
The camera was made from two planks atop of which were two plastic bottles joined with black tape.
“When arrested the men were found in possession of the fake camera, a reflective vest and other items. Dumb, dumber and dumbest?” – Sapa