Three alleged serial robbers will appear in in the Bloemfontein Magistrate`s Court on Monday in connection with a spate of robberies in the city within a few hours, Free State police said.
Swift response by the Parkweg flying squad led to the arrest of the three men, aged between 22 and 26, and the recovery of an unlicensed firearm, police said in a statement.
Police officers on routine patrol in the Brandwag at about 9pm on Thursday night were alerted about the group of suspects on a robbery spree in the Universitas and Brandwag areas.
In the first incident, a 23-year-old student was walking with a fellow student from the university campus at about 8pm. When approaching the corner of Dutton and Mellville streets, three suspects attacked and robbed them of their cellphones. They tried to retaliate but the suspects fired three shots at them. Fortunately they managed to escape unharmed.
Another two students, aged 23 and 25, were attacked a few minutes later at the same street corner allegedly by the same men and they were also robbed of their cellphones.
“The suspects then moved to another street corner in Groenewoud Street in Universitas, at [9.30pm], and attacked another pair of students. They allegedly robbed them of their cellphones. The suspects were allegedly picked up a few minutes later by a white Toyota without registration numbers.
“The suspects were traced by the patrolling team and were arrested near a well-known hotel in [the] Park West area. One pistol with its serial numbers filled off was found in their possession,” the statement said.