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First a denial, but Lansdowne cops in trouble after suspect 'escapes'

Cape Town - A disciplinary process is under way at the Lansdowne police station after a robbery suspect “escaped” from a holding cell last Sunday.
This was after the Cape Times reported on Roscoe Topley’s home burglary in Lansdowne last week - and repeated denials and obfuscation by the police.
In the incident the suspect made off with various personal items, including the family’s spare house keys.
Police told the Cape Times the suspect was in custody at Lansdowne police station, but repeated follow-up questions revealed yesterday that he had in fact escaped a week ago.
It is understood they called an urgent meeting with the family last Monday, following questions from the Cape Times.
Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said the matter was being investigated.
“An incident occurred on October 3 at about 6.30am, and a housebreaking and theft case was only registered on October 8 by the complainant. A suspect was taken in for questioning on Sunday and kept in a holding cell.
“Later it was discovered that the suspect was no longer in the holding cell, which is being investigated. Disciplinary steps are under way against members of the station in this regard,” Van Wyk said.
The case of housebreaking and theft continued to be investigated, and the suspect was still being sought, he added.
Before confirming the disciplinary process on Thursday, Van Wyk said: “New information regarding your enquiry has come to the attention of this office and the matter is receiving our further attention. This office will communicate with you in due course.”
The police’s initial response to the enquiry said there was no escape from Lansdowne police station’s holding cells.
“There was no escape yesterday or over the weekend at that station,” Van Wyk said.
But Topley said he conducted his own investigation, because he “lost confidence in police”, and shortly after the burglary, he had spotted the suspect in the parking lot of a local shopping centre.
The suspect was wearing an entire outfit of Topley’s which was stolen from his home on that day.
“I went to the local shop when I saw a man standing in my clothes. He had on a full outfit that was mine.
“I went to the police station with all the information I had gathered and they came out to arrest the guy.
“At the police station they searched through the suspect’s bag and in it were various other items belonging to my family, including our extra set of house keys.
“Police took his details and it was found that he gave a false name and address to police.
“We went to the address and then returned to the police station. When we got there, I was told the suspect had just escaped from the holding cells,” Topley previously said.
Community policing forum chairperson Rafique Foflonker said: “The disciplinary process is necessary. 
"But it must also be noted that there are very good and seasoned officers out there who go the extra mile for the community.
“The discplinary procedure must be adhered to. Also, the Lansdowne police station is not purpose-built as a police station; it is office space rented as a police station, and this is a concern as well.”

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