Serial burglar 'Thando' still terrorizes Ermelo East

Serial burglar 'Thando' still terrorizes Ermelo East

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GK CRONJE

19 January 2022

Residents, especially in Ermelo East, are urged to ensure that valuable items, including gardening tools, are locked away when not in use, and that windows and doors are on latch at night or when you’re not at home.

Residents of Ermelo East are well versed with the name 'Thando', which often brings up feelings of anger and dismay. This barefoot female burglar, known as Thando by residents, neighborhood watch, SAPS and security companies, have been a thorn in the sides of residents in this area for years. Thando is recognized by her seemingly nervous demeanor, scruffy clothing, and most notably, her lack of shoes. She often approaches residents at filling stations during the day, begging for morsels or money, claiming to have children to feed. However, at night and during the early hours of morning, Thando transforms from what seems like a harmless down and out individual, to a cold and calculating burglar. She has a reputation of unmatched patience, where she spends hours canvassing properties to plot an escape route once she has the loot. Mostly focusing on items that are easily stolen, such as charcoal grills, gas bottles, gardening tools and any small items of value that can be hawked for a few Rands, Thando has been a major cause of frustration.

While she mostly focuses on petty crime, which often carries little to no consequence from the law, she also occasionally attempts more serious burglaries. One resident in Ermelo East approached the Tribune ePaper, where Thando gained access to their resident by squeezing through a shockingly small space in the burglar bars. The occupants of the residence caught her red handed where she was busy carefully packing up a laptop and charger. Residents caught Thando after being alerted by her rank body odor. As the residents contacted ACSU, Thando pulled one of her old tricks out of the hat, and started smearing the walls and floor with her own faeces. When caught in the act or arrested, Thando appears and acts mentally deranged, often removing all her clothing, being able to defecate, urinate and vomit on command, and will attempt to bite anyone who comes close or tries to apprehend her. However, this resident isn’t fooled by Thando’s acting.

“If she is truly mentally deranged or as unstable as she appears, she would not have time capacity to carefully and meticulously pack up a laptop and charger. Imagine if you have small children in your house, and they catch Thando in the act?” she stated. “What if she breaks into a residence and hurts your children when she panics? She is actually dangerous when confronted and cornered, despite her small build and nervous act. I appeal to all residents to do what I have done, and open a case with the SAPS if you are burgled by Thando. She gets away with a lot of her petty crime due to residents not bothering to open a case, or by feeling sorry for her when she turns of the waterworks and starts to apologize. She isn’t sorry, not by a long stretch. She needs to be taken care of by the law before the seriously hurts someone.”

In a time when violence, murders and property crimes are at an all time high, residents are urged to take serious action and ensure that a case is lodged with the SAPS. Burglaries at residential and non-residential premises saw an increase of nearly 18% in 2021, and it’s not improving. Residents, especially in Ermelo East, are urged to ensure that valuable items, including gardening tools, are locked away when not in use, and that windows and doors are on latch at night or when you’re not at home. If you have a LPG geyser, ensure that your bottle is locked in a sturdy cage or harness to avoid it being stolen.