Five men aged between 28 and 53 are expected to appear at the Ogies and Bethal Magistrate’s Court for possession of suspected stolen property, possession of firearms and ammunition without a licence as well as business robbery and later at Morgenzon Periodical Court respectively.
Their appearance stems from their arrest on Thursday 7 February 2019, around 11:00, along the N12 highway, near the Kendal off ramp and at Bethal.
The first trio were arrested by members from Phola, near Ogies who were patrolling in the area. The members spotted a white Lexus that was travelling at a high speed and signalled for it to stop. After the vehicle came to a halt, the members called for backup from the Middelburg Flying Squad and as a collective, the members managed to recover two big traveling bags filled with sealed cell phones, two unlicensed firearms, ammunition and an extra set of false registration plates.
A preliminary probe uncovered that the suspects may have been responsible for a robbery that had taken place at a retail shop earlier on at Morgenzon, near Ermelo. The three suspects, together with two other accomplices are reported to have held up members of staff as well as customers at gunpoint and robbed cellphones from the shop, an undisclosed amount of cash from the cash registers as well as valuables from customers. The suspects are reported to have fled in two vehicles, taking different directions.
The other vehicle, a black Volvo S40 with two occupants aged 28 and 53 was cornered at Bethal where a shootout between the police and the suspects ensued before the driver lost control causing the vehicle to over turn. One suspect who sustained injuries had to be treated at the scene by paramedics before being taken into police custody. The suspects were found in possession of a firearm without a licence.
Police are currently profiling the suspects to verify if they are not linked to other cases.
The Provincial Commissioner of the police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma applauded the members for their sterling crime fighting efforts. He stressed the fact that police needed to adopt a zero tolerance approach towards crime in order to squeeze the space in which criminals are operating.
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