Beauty thief learns ugly lesson

Habitual offender gets 8 lashes and 2 years in prison

A habitual thief with a partiality for stealing Nivea beauty products received an ugly surprise when he was sentenced to two years in jail and eight strokes of the medicinal cane.

Appearing before Mogoditshane Customary Court this week, 35-year-old Lesetse Latiwa was accused of praying on unsuspecting supermarkets and selling his stolen goods to people at reduced prices.

Court heard how, on the morning of March 3, the Tlokweng native was caught red-handed at Choppies in Mogoditshane with stolen Nivea products, including roll-on, lotion and shower gel.

Giving evidence before court, the store’s Security Guard, Gaogalalwe Goboletswe, revealed the theft was discovered after he inspected Latiwa’s till receipt and realised the Nivea items in the plastic bag had not been paid for.

The receipt only documented a loaf of bread and a coke

Latiwa was then taken to the security office, where he was searched and found to have four more Nivea lotion bottles hidden in his clothes.

“We arrested him and we realised he parked his Honda Fit at the back of the shop where trucks park to offload stock. We found a huge black bag inside the car full of Nivea products,” continued Goboletswe.

Another Choppies employee, Molapisi Sebodge said he noticed the accused loitering around the shop and identified him as one of the ‘notorious thieves’ that have tormented the store.

“We once caught him with similar products at Choppies Tsolamosese along Gabane road,” he said, adding that Latiwa had long been on Choppies’ watch list.

In his defence, Latiwa said he was once stopped by police officers, who requested to check his car where they found Nivea products, which he claimed to have bought from a certain lady called ‘Ivona’.

“The police arrested me and I was tried before Molepolole Customary Court where I was ordered to pay the sum of P500 or four months in prison for failure to pay. I made an appeal and won the case. My items were returned to me, so these are the same items in question today,” he said.

However, Latiwa’s defence proved inadequate as the Nivea items returned to him totalled 20 but he was caught in possession of 38 products.

Upon considering that the accused had committed a similar offence several times, Chief Alfred Dihutso sentenced Latiwa to eight swift strokes of the cane and two years in the slammer, explaining the seemingly harsh sentence was to deter him from stealing again in the future.

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