Vigilantes set alleged thief alight

[caption id="attachment_91418" align="alignright" width="350"] DEATH SITE: Constable Siyabonga Majola from the Kamesh police station indicates where Rudi van Rooyen’s body was found. Picture: EUGENE COETZEE[/caption]

IN A savage act of street justice, three Uitenhage men allegedly doused a suspected burglar with paraffin and set him alight, claiming he had stolen their television.

Rudi van Rooyen, 26, from the Moeggesukkel informal settlement on the outskirts of Uitenhage, died in his shack after the men carried out their own investigation that led them to his shack – about 2km from their house.

Three men, aged between 33 and 38, have been arrested and are due to appear in the Uitenhage Magistrate’s Court today.

The incident has prompted police to warn residents who commit vigilante-style justice that they will be prosecuted.

By late yesterday, police were still unable to confirm if Van Rooyen had stolen the television or if the wrong man had been attacked.

When a Herald reporter visited the house in Chico Street, Kamesh, which was allegedly burgled, the packaging box of a 51-inch plasma television set was seen outside.

Police spokesman Warrant Officer Basil Seekoei said the suspects claimed they had returned home on Saturday night to find their television missing.

“The men gathered their own information which led them to Van Rooyen,” he said.

“It is believed they then took him to his shack, but did not find the television there.

“Shortly before 10pm, the three men allegedly threw paraffin on Van Rooyen and set him alight inside his shack. They then ran off.”

Seekoei said police at that stage had not yet been notified about the alleged burglary.

“After the fire was extinguished and the man’s body found, people came forward with information on what had transpired,” he said.

-Gareth Wilson and Michael Kimberley