An alert armed response officer helped with the arrest of a suspected arsonist close to Plettenberg Bay during the holidays.
“Officer Andile Matwena was patrolling the Keurbooms area (on Wednesday 21 December) when he noticed a man along the side of the road acting suspiciously,” says ADT Security’s Garden Route branch manager Steven Green.
“The man claimed that he was working for the Bitou Municipality and that he was picking up garbage, but our officer didn’t accept this explanation. Instead he decided to continue with his regular patrols but to make regular visits to the specific area and to keep an eye on the suspect.”
When Officer Matwena again visited the area around 10 minutes later, he saw that smoke was rising from a nearby bush. The suspect also started to run away when he noticed the approaching ADT patrol vehicle.
“Thankfully our officer was able to apprehend the suspect before he could get away. At the same time, police and the local fire brigade were called to the scene,” says Green.
Firefighters arrived soon after and extinguished the flames. When SAPS arrived, they searched the suspect and found a cigarette lighter and a small bottle of lighter fluid in his possession. He was promptly taken into custody on suspicion of arson.
“Well done to Officer Matwena for trusting his instinct. Had he not intervened the way he did, this could have escalated into a potentially massive blaze. Our officers are encouraged to investigate anything out of the ordinary and to always be proactive,” says Green.