DNA Task Team helps to nab criminals

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Members of the MM DNA Task Team are from the left Sergeant Bazooka Kotoane, Sergeant Mxolisi Stephen Tshona, Constable Nwabisa Stokwe, Constable Zandile Stuurman, and Captain Sias Smit.

A perpetrator who terrorised residents in the Fichardtpark suburb in Bloemfontein is behind bars, thanks to the Mangaung Metro DNA Task Team who linked the cat burglar to multiple house break-ins.

The suspect broke into numerous houses, stealing valuable items. He was arrested at a house in the area and was later successfully linked to a number of other crimes through DNA samples collected by the Task Team. The suspect is currently serving 20 years’ imprisonment.

DNA plays a pivotal role in solving cases and five members of the Mangaung Metro DNA Task Team have solved hundreds of cases through DNA evidence. By making use of DNA evidence, cases such as rape, murder, robbery, and burglaries are solved by the team consisting of Captain Sias Smit (the Commander), Sergeant Bazooka Kotoane, Sergeant Sandile Stuurman, Constable Mxolisi Tshona and Constable Nwabisa Stokwe.

According to Police spokesperson Thabo Covane, DNA is left at the scene by the victim(s) as well as the perpetrator(s) of crime in the form of biological samples including blood, saliva, semen, hair, nails and/ or skin cells. “Samples are taken and reserved in Forensic Data Management. The perpetrator’s sample that is collected from the scene can either be a match or be excluded during the testing conducted at Forensic Science Laboratory.”

Covane added that police officials are trained on crime scene management as first responders. “The biggest challenge is scenes that are contaminated by the victims and members of the public who approach and enter the scene before the police arrive. Members of the Team advise the victims as well as the public to stay clear of crime scenes.” He also advised victims of rape to not take a bath or wash their clothes or bedlinen before being attended to by one of their forensic experts.

The team operates from Mangaung Police Station, serves stations in the district, and also cooperates with stations outside the district to facilitate the investigation of cases, specifically where DNA had been collected from the scene.

Pierce van Heerden

pierce@mahareng.co.za