Schoolbag thief caught by community action

Quinton Lourens, a Gr 11 learner at Hoërskool Piet Potgieter, is relieved that his sister, Lara, brought back his schoolbag. The exam is a mere two weeks away.

Barely one month after I experienced a house burglary and caught the thief myself, I arrived in Mokopane last Friday to visit my mother and brother.

My brother spent the afternoon at school and my mom and I picked up his schoolbag. We then left for the shops. We got into my car at the shops and heard the passenger door behind my driver’s seat open. A stranger had opened my door and grabbed my brother’s school bag. He ran down the street with the bag and I, blinded by my own rage, ran after him.

The people in the streets and the street vendors saw the commotion and immediately also chased the culprit. When I realised I’m not going to catch him I was feeling utterly helpless, but a man called me over and informed me that they caught the fiend. I ran around the corner where a giant crowd had gathered around a police vehicle. Once I reached them various people took me by the arm and guided me to the police officer. The criminal had been caught and loaded into the police van.

Angry members of the community were yelling at him and some even tried to pull him out of the police van to give him a further beating. The policeman returned the bag to me and took me back to my mother, where she was waiting beside my car in Nelson Mandela drive. Other supportive members of the community were also waiting with her. I was extremely overwhelmed at the community’s strong reaction and help, despite the unnecessary situation, I’m so proud to know that South Africans are willing to stand together in the name of justice.

Lara Lourens, Film/Stage director and actress

Bosveld was informed at the Mokopane police station that the schoolbag thief is a well known suspect in the area. Reportedly, he was sent to rehab before but got back to his old ways after being released. It is alleged that he had mistaken the schoolbag for a laptop bag. A case of theft has been opened.

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