Country’s ‘dumbest criminal’ who has been on the run for years is caught after applying for police job

A man who entered the police station to inquire about his application to join the force has been nicknamed “South Africa’s stupidest criminal.”

The 40-year-old Thomas Ngcobo was wanted for stealing hardware items worth more than £1,000 that he was supposed to deliver to customers in 2015. He had been on the run for seven years.

He fled after rerouting the delivery of the hardware to other locations without the owner’s knowledge or consent.

Brigadier Selvy Mohlala, a spokesman for the Mpumalanga police, said: “The manager’s decision to examine invoices a week later led to the discovery of the suspect’s dirty tricks.

“It was realised that two invoices were missing and other material had been delivered to wrong addresses.”

The alleged theft was registered at the Bethal South African Police Service (SAPS) headquartered in the South African province of Mpumalanga in 2015, with Ngcobo being added to the police “wanted list”.

However, seven years later, the suspect baffled police after walking through the front door of the police station to find out why there was a hold-up with his job application.

Mohlala said: “The suspect was unexpectedly nabbed on Monday, August 15, 2022, after he visited the Bethal SAPS to make enquiries about his application for a police recruitment drive.”

The Provincial Commissioner of SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela welcomed the criminal’s capture and warned fugitive suspects that there is no running away from the law.

She said: “We are working tirelessly day and night, sticking to our mandate of creating a safe environment for all citizens. We cannot achieve that stage while other suspects are still roaming the streets and terrorising communities.”

Manamela reassured: “It is just a matter of time before we bring them to justice.”

Local media reported that Ngcobo has been held in custody since August 16.

He has been dubbed the country’s dumbest criminal.

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