Picture for reference
During my army days, we had the occasional duty whereby we had to go and try to arrest deserters. Fast forward to this incident:
One Friday night, all of us were recalled (we used pagers then and usually cursed when they sounded) back to our unit for an operation. When we arrived, we were told that we would be doing a midnight surprise arrest of a particular deserter. Now this guy was the “Houdini” of deserters and had evaded many arrests in as many years and we had a tip off he would be at a certain location.
Dragon lights, batons, PC shields, P226 pistols were drawn (My tip if in the SAF: don’t carry the firearm if possible) & issued and everyone loaded up onto the 3 tonners. It was a joint operation and we had the canine unit come along too.
The trucks drove a short way (I am censoring the location) and we debussed and surrounded a particular dilapidated spooky old villa at about midnight. There were no street lamps in the area and it was as dark as a monkey’s behind…
A couple of unlucky dudes were asked to go in the front door (me included since I had that big ass dragon light)…now the dragon light is one mother of a flashlight, heavy too.
Upon entering the house, we found it empty so we got the canine unit to bring the dogs in to check it out. Strangely enough, the dogs were very reluctant to go in and once inside, did not want to do their usual sniffing and searching. So we decided to do a perimeter search instead and luckily, the dogs (now outside, were back to usual) found a scent leading to the property at the back.
All jumped into the 3 tonners and we made our way to the property at the back to resume the search at about 2 am. This property at the back looked even spookier than the building we just went to and everyone kinda got the evil vibe. Me and 3 other guys were standing in front of the building just looking at it when (not sure if it was fatigue or the late hour playing tricks) I saw a white shadow sliding to one window on the top left floor, then slowly sliding out of view. I turned to the other guys and asked them if they saw it… four of us looked at each other and just agreed to “Get the Fuck outta there” and so we legged it back to base…. The Op report said – search done, deserter not found…
I was soon discharged from the army but heard from friends back at the unit that “Houdini” was found a couple of weeks later mad as a hatter….
What happened to the actual properties? I went back a few years ago to try and find the buildings but I think they have all been torn down, and the area is now a famous hippie location with pubs and bars…. make a guess…