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PostPosted: 02 Apr 2015, 17:46 
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2 April 2015: PE Express

Help asked to locate stolen air force museum collectables

By Anna Pauw

The police are following leads after the air force museum in Forest Hill in Port Elizabeth was broken into twice over the weekend.

Considerable damage had been done as glass display cases were broken in order to steal medals, and the public is now being asked to be on the lookout for these rare collectibles.

The medals with which lt Leendert Ryneke was decorated during the 1940’s, were among the irreplaceable items stolen on Friday and Sunday respectively.

Ryneke, who retired in PE after having left the air force, was found murdered in his flat in Kabega Park on June 21, 1997.

Back then it was reported that he was a jewellery dealer at the time of his death and that robbery had been the probable motive for his murder.

A reward of R20 000 was offered at the time for anyone with information which could have lead to the arrest of the murderer.

According to an article in Die Burger, Ryneke had bought jewellery to the value of R14 000 just days before his death. The jewellery was not found in the flat where he had been stabbed to death.

Police spokesperson, capt. Sandra Janse van Rensburg, said it would take a bit of research to establish if anyone had ever been arrested in connection with Ryneke’s murder.

According to capt. Mark Kelbrick, curator of the air force museum and spokesperson for the air force in the Eastern Cape, Ryneke’s medals, another medal, a clock made of a wooden aircraft propeller and some cash had been stolen.

Kelbrick said the police were investigating the case and that there were a number of leads.

“A clear fingerprint was found on the scene and the police are also in the possession of the names and contact details of two suspects.”

Kelbrick said the burglaries are a big blow to the museum.

According to him the thieves either knew exactly what they were taking or that they had no clue at all.

“The things that were taken would be difficult to sell without raising suspicion. There are many things here they could have taken instead which would have been easier to sell. The stolen goods would definitely be of value to collectors.

The museum will now have to rely on donations to repair the damage. Additional safety measures had been put into place.

Anyone with information about the burglaries or who would like to offer assistance to the museum can call Kelbrick on 082 413 7577.

Capt. Mark Kelbrick at the display case in the air force museum which used to house the medals of the murdered lt Leendert Ryneke.

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