By PISAI GUMAR
POLICE in Lae, Morobe province, have gone on full alert following the mass escape of 21 detainees who broke out of the Lae police cells early yesterday morning.
The mass break-out occurred at the Top Town police cells between 3am and 5am.
Police yesterday warned that crime, particular break and enter and stealing, would inevitably increase.
Metropolitan commander Supt Nema Mondiai told reporters yesterday that the escapees dismantled brick walls near the toilet block and then jumped over the two-tier barbed wire fence at the back towards the State House and dashed for freedom. None of the escapees have been recaptured. Supt Mondiai has ordered an investigation.
He said police had yet to verify the status of each of the escapees, but he urged the public to take precautions.
He added that the improvement of the floor and roofs of each cell blocks had deterred detainees from escaping, however, the brick walls needed to be replaced with metal sheets or iron rods built into the bricks. The escape raises further worries for the Lae public with more than 70 escapees from last year’s break out at Bomana still at large.
These escapees could further strengthen the mob already on the streets into doing more public harm.
Supt Mondiai said it was an increasing trend in Lae for criminals to attack in groups.
Whether it was while a person was walking on the streets in broad daylight or in the safety of his home on a rainy night, “mobs will attack”, he said.
Supt Mondiai added that break and enter cases had reached a two-year high.
An increase had also been noted in car-jacking.
He also reported that three men, armed with pistols, held up a woman and stole K10,400 from her at Casuaraina Avenue at Eriku.
One has been arrested while the other was hospitalised after being manhandled.
The third escaped.
At the Papindo department store at Eriku, a man managed to hide inside the shop when it closed for the day and then made off with an undisclosed number of cell phones and DVDs worth thousands of kina yesterday morning.