From the news desk

How Hawks employees stole crime exhibits from investigators’ offices

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The Hawks have confirmed that two of their employees were suspected to have worked together, allegedly sneaking into investigators’ offices in Bellville to steal crime scene exhibits, which one of them then went on to sell.

While one of the two resigned and is now facing criminal charges, it is understood the second turned State witness and is still on the job.

In a separate case, a third Hawks employee who also allegedly stole from the offices, is also facing criminal charges.

Earlier this week, provincial Hawks spokesperson Captain Lloyd Ramovha confirmed to News24 that two of the employees “resigned pending disciplinary processes”.

“The criminal cases against them [are] still ongoing,” he said.

“The third, who turned State witness, has been subjected to an internal disciplinary process which we are not at liberty to discuss.”

Insufficient security

Ramovha did not respond to a question about how the thefts had impacted on criminal cases.

He also did not respond to what, if any, extra security measures had been put in place at the Hawks’ Bellville building in AJ West Street, which is in such a poor condition the national Hawks previously admitted it was hazardous to those working in it.
They had also admitted security was sorely lacking.

Disciplinary documents which detail how crimes were committed inside the Hawks building, the very offices where priority crime investigations are run from, were leaked to News24.

The documents say the thefts happened between August and December last year and resulted in seven criminal cases being opened by Hawks members.

The documents identify Chezlyn Daniels, previously a principal administration clerk based at the Hawks office, as allegedly masterminding the thefts.

Laptops sold for R1 750

He allegedly used a spare key to get into offices to steal equipment, including laptops and cellphones which were exhibits. Daniels, according to the documents, allegedly once stashed a camera stolen from a colonel’s office behind a cabinet in a basement of the Hawks building.

A laptop, allegedly also stolen from a colonel, was apparently found behind a cabinet next to Daniels’ desk.

His colleague, a data typist who went on to become a State witness, was said to have worked with him.

The documents alleged, based on statements, that his colleague would “keep a lookout” while Daniels stole laptops, which were sealed in exhibit bags and which Daniels would later sell to a member of the public for R1 750 each.

Daniels’ colleague had denied receiving money from the proceeds of the laptop sales.

This colleague alleged Daniels had asked him to approach a third colleague, Lonwabo Welem, in supply chain management “to work with them as he had access to the duplicate keys to all the offices… because Welem was already stealing”.

Suspension lifted

But, the documents said, Welem declined the offer.

Welem was arrested on December 10 last year for allegedly stealing hard drives from a Hawks supply chain store.

Daniels was also arrested on December 10 last year.

He is expected back in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court on December 6.

According to disciplinary documents, Daniels’ colleague who turned State witness was suspended for six months ending on January 26.

But News24 understands this was lifted under certain conditions.

Ramovha confirmed to News24 that it was Welem and Daniels who had resigned while disciplinary processes into their activities were underway.

[Source: News24]



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