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EDITORIAL | The ashes are piling up, but where are the cops?


EDITORIAL | The ashes are piling up, but where are the cops?

For more than a year an arsonist has been stalking Johannesburg, yet the police are doing little to nail him


A tall, slender, snappy dresser is prowling Joburg’s northern suburbs, targeting upmarket homes when families are away. He bypasses alarm systems, breaks into homes, often dropping in through a skylight, and strolls around. He snacks on fruit or whatever food he can find. He helps himself to alcohol and occasionally urinates in a dustbin or defecates on a carpet. He torches the place.

Evidence found on some scenes is that he sticks around to watch the house burn down.

In several cases almost everything thing was burnt. Not only did families lose their homes, but every cherished possession too. Photo albums, children’s toys, pictures, clothing, mementoes — items of little monetary value, but hugely sentimental and painful to lose. Those who spoke out mentioned lost art, burnt valuables and the impossibility of calculating replacement values...

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