Office block housing elite South African police unit broken into for fifth time in three weeks

Break-ins have raised fears over security of classified information

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The Independent Online

The building housing offices used by an elite South African police unit and Interpol in Pretoria has been broken into for the fifth time in three weeks.

The latest theft, believed to have taken place over the weekend but discovered only on Monday, has raised fears over the security of classified information.

Thieves stole laptops and electronic equipment from the offices of the anti-corruption police unit, known as the Hawks, after gaining entry with access cards and codes.

A crime intelligence source, quoted by The Times Live, said the burglars appeared to be returning again and again because they were not finding the information they were looking for.

"They use the same modus operandi, coming back again and again to find what they are looking for. They are now going from floor to floor," the source said.

However, police spokesperson Solomon Makgale said: "At this point we believe it is highly unlikely that those behind the burglaries are interested in the information contained on the laptops but are rather more interested in making quick cash.”

Some of the laptops from the first burglary have been recovered from a pawn dealership.

Mr Makgale said there was no evidence to suggest the thefts were the result of an inside job.

A spokesperson for Hawks stressed the crime did not appear to be serious.

In July criminals removed laptops and electronic equipment from the offices of the International Police.

The Hawks, formally known as the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, target organised crime, economic crime, corruption, and other serious crime.