Friday, 14 August 2020

Bethlehem: Thapelo Samuel Mokoena (Mlangeni) aged 40, who escaped from police custody 15 years ago, was finally rearrested. His arrest came into being after the media was used to try and obtain information on his whereabouts.

The Investigating Officer, Detective Warrant Officer Radebe followed a crime intelligence led information which resulted to his arrest on the 12 August 2020, at Hlanganani mine; in Gauteng province.

Thapelo appeared in the Bethlehem Magistrates court on the charges of murder, attempted murder and escape from lawful custody.

Thapelo and his four accomplices attacked three victims at Dankbaardheid farm in Bethlehem on 23 August 2004 where Johanna Van nie Kerk then (72) and Tororo Elias Tsholo then (43), were fatally shot and left the third victim seriously wounded. They were all arrested whilst trying to flee the scene after the police were alerted by the injured victim.

Thapelo escaped from Makwane Police Station on the 27 July 2005, a day before their sentencing. Three of his co-accused were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment and the fourth was sentenced to life imprisonment. He has been on the run since until he was eventually arrested after several attempts to trace him were made.

The Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane expressed gratitude on the efforts made by the investigating officer to re-arrest this dangerous suspect and to the members of the community who alerted the police when they spotted the suspect.