Suspect in murder held for break-ins


Swoop on car nets Hoekstra accused.

A string of break-ins across Port Elizabeth could be connected to one of the accused in the 2010 murder of Walmer Country Club manager Gerrie Hoekstra.

Charne Brown, 37, still on trial for the botched robbery turned murder of former Eastern Province rugby coach Hoekstra, was arrested on Sunday and charged with multiple counts of housebreaking and possession of stolen goods.

Brown, along with Calvin Prince, 33, Gordon Jordaan, 36, and Ruaan Deysel, 21, were arrested in North End and appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

Police spokeswoman Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said the four were arrested after the white Opel Kadett they were travelling in was pulled over at about 10.40pm.

“Inside the vehicle officers found implements often used during break-ins, as well as a handheld radio from a security company.

“They were arrested and taken into police custody.”

After further investigation officers at Humewood police station were led to a house in Wells Estate where more suspected stolen goods were found.

Some were linked to two housebreaking incidents in the Newton Park area. Janse van Rensburg said investigators believed some of the items would also be connected to other break-ins in Newton Park, Mount Road and surrounding areas.

Also among the goods was a safe that might be connected to a break-in at the St George’s Park swimming pool, where Brown is believed to have been an employee some years ago.

During their court appearance yesterday the defence attorney for the four could not be present as he was busy with another case.

Magistrate Gavin Juicy said the case would be postponed and they would return to court next week.

Brown appeared in the Port Elizabeth High Court last year in connection with Hoekstra’s murder.

Hoekstra was shot dead on November 22 2010 when he left the country club on his way to deposit that weekend’s takings of R33 000, in the bank.

He was shot in the upper body in Victoria Drive and drove off, but his vehicle hit a tree in Heugh Road moments later after he lost consciousness.

Brown, who operated the phones at a taxi company used during the murder, will be back in court soon with her co-accused Karen van der Merwe, 41, the bookkeeper at the country club, and the alleged shooter, Sherwin Leander, 29.

Taxi driver Abduragmaan Hendricks, 43, confessed to his involvement in the murder and was sentenced in 2013 to 15 years in prison.

– Riaan Marais

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