24 February 2021
Parktown – Police efforts to prevent and combat trio crimes that include business robberies, on Tuesday afternoon, saw police in Gauteng apprehend a sought suspected jewellery store robber who has been on the run from police since escaping from custody in 2014, Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said.
“Police embarked on a multi-disciplinary, intelligence driven operation that was activated on Monday 22 February 2021 and on Tuesday 23 February 2021, successfully traced the wanted suspect and located him in a vehicle on the M2 off-ramp in Johannesburg. The suspect was with two passengers in a car, one of them a woman who was carrying a baby.”
“It is reported that the woman and one of the two men who was the driver, surrendered to the police, while the other man who was actually the sought suspect and was armed, jumped out of the vehicle and allegedly started firing shots at the police while running in the direction of the George Goch hostels. Police returned fire as they gave chase and the suspect was struck and injured. He was arrested and rushed to hospital where he is detained under police guard,” he said.
Police seized a pistol from the injured suspect and explosives from the vehicle. Two more firearms and suspected stolen jewellery were found by police in a follow-up investigation that led to the suspect’s place of residence.
A BMW was seized in Edenvale for further investigation and has at this stage been found to have been used in the commission of a jewellery store robbery in Tableview in the Western Cape earlier this month.
He said that, “The investigation that is currently underway has already linked the injured suspect to several jewellery store robberies committed between 2014 and 2020 at a number of malls and shopping centres in Gauteng including Clearwater Mall, Cradlestone Mall, Westgate, Eastgate, and Midrand.”
“ It was during his incarceration on the 2014 robbery that he escaped from custody. The second suspect, the driver of the seized vehicle, has also been taken into custody after the preliminary investigation linked him to some of the robberies in reference,” Mathapelo said.
Investigations continue as police believe the suspect could be linked to even more jewellery store robberies in other provinces. The possibility of his involvement in cash-in-transit (CIT) robberies is also being probed.
The three firearms will be subjected to ballistic testing to establish linkage to other serious and violent crimes.
Meanwhile, Gauteng Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela commended the collaboration by Crime Intelligence, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), the Saturation Unit of Gauteng Traffic Police, Tracker Connect and private security.
“Our integrated approach and partnerships with the private sector in dealing decisively with serious and violent crime in the Province, continues to yield positive results. We must therefore strengthen these relationships in the best interests of the safety and security of the residents of Gauteng and their properties,” said Mawela.
Mawela further encouraged the multi-disciplinary team to sustain the momentum and to be energy geared at bringing down the volumes of aggravated robberies.