Cape Town – Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.
Three men are behind bars after they allegedly stole equipment worth R100 000 from the iconic Luxurama Theatre in Wynberg on Sunday afternoon.
Mogamat Bester, of the Eden Safety and Security Neighbourhood Watch (ESS), says crime fighters were disappointed to find that the suspects were part of struggling residents, in Wynberg East whom the watch have been providing with food.
He says every Thursday, they hand out food to the poor in the parking lot of the now-defunct theatre.
“Since the mosque took over at the Luxurama, they allow us to have our weekly soup kitchen there,” Bester explains.
“Two of the guys caught live in the area and the third one is homeless.
“On Sunday afternoon, one of the neighbours alerted us that people had jumped over the wall by the Luxurama.”
On arrival, patrollers found a side door had been broken and the skelms had stolen cables, projectors, wires and other items.
“By the time we got there, they had already escaped, but we went searching for them.
“We found them as they were walking to Main Road with a trolley full of the stolen items.
“We took them back to the Luxurama and called someone from the mosque committee who confirmed the items were from the theatre and the police were called.
“The goods are worth over R100 000.”
Wynberg police confirm the arrest and say the three men, aged 27 and 31, have been charged with possession of stolen items.
The trio will make their first appearance at the Wynberg Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
Bester says the men are among those who have come for a hot meal at the theatre.
“All three of them are druggies and we know that, but we have tried to help them and other people sukkeling in the community.
“We are very disappointed because they broke down the door, and caused damage on the inside as well when they ripped the wires and stuff out.
“We are extremely disappointed that they would damage such an iconic building for petty theft, but believe the law must deal with them.”