Uruguay won’t press charges in theft
South Africa police say Uruguayan football officials have
declined to pursue a theft case after allegations emerged that one
of their own may have been responsible.
Police spokesman Leon Engelbrecht said Sunday after receiving a
report that about $12,000 was missing from two of the delegation’s
Cape Town hotel rooms several hours before Uruguay played France
Friday, authorities reviewed hotel surveillance camera footage.
“There’s a big possibility that a member of the Uruguayan
delegation was involved, Engelbrecht said.
He said when delegation members saw the footage, they decided
not to open a case.
Sebastian Bauza, president of the Uruguayan football
association, denied a delegation member was involved, saying that
pressing charges would take too much time and distract from the
In another incident on the same day, TV New Zealand’s
correspondent and cameraman were robbed of all their equipment at
the FIFA-approved Sparkling Waters hotel in Rustenburg, foreign
editor Max Hayton said. Thieves smashed their hotel room door when
the two were out to dinner, he said. The estimated loss was
There have been other robberies of World Cup travelers.
Three journalists – two from Portugal, one from Spain – were
robbed of money, camera equipment, laptop computers and mobile
phones last Wednesday in a town northwest of Johannesburg. One of
the journalists was robbed at gunpoint.
“It took police no more than 24 hours to arrest these lunatic
scoundrels,” South Africa minister of police Nathi Mthetwa said in
a statement after three men – two from Zimbabwe and one from
Nigeria – were arrested in that case. “It further took the justice
department no more than 48 hours to sentence them. Now this is what
we have been echoing: that we will act with swiftness on any
Two of the convicted were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for
armed robbery, and the third to four years for the possession of
South Africa has one of the world’s highest rates of violent
crime, and the thefts were a reminder of the dangers that face
hundreds of thousands of fans coming to watch the monthlong
Authorities have set up 56 dedicated courts to deal quickly with
World Cup-related cases.
“No criminal, whether South African or foreign, will terrorize
law-abiding citizens or visitors during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and
beyond, especially because this is a festival of the beautiful
game,” Mthetwa said.