Operatives of the South Africa Police Service (SAPS), have foiled a planned armed robbery attack, and a truck hijacking incident, with 19 suspects arrested in Gauteng.
The operation which also led to the recovery of ten illegal firearms, four stolen vehicles and a jamming device, was achieved following intelligence report.
According to Gauteng Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, “ The arrest comes as an effort to reduce the volumes of aggravated robberies, particularly house and business robberies, car and truck hijackings.
“ Some of the suspects were arrested after information of a planned armed robbery where a truck carrying a consignment of cellphones with an estimated value of about R60 million, would be hijacked.
“ Information also led the multi-disciplinary team to a house in Old Pretoria Road in Kelvin. When policemen were approaching the house, the suspects started firing shots at them, to which the team retaliated and returned fire.
“ Fourteen suspects, including two women were arrested; while an unconfirmed number of suspects escaped by jumping the walls. Other policemen who were strategically positioned outside the house gave chase and five more suspects were cornered and arrested at five different scenes in close proximity to the initial crime scene.”
Mawela said a security guard as well as one suspect were fatally shot, but no police officer was injured.
“ Preliminary investigations have at this point linked the suspects to an incident in January, where police pounced on suspects at a house in Lombardy East, interrupting the suspected plotting of an aggravated robbery with the recovery of two AK-47 rifles with loaded magazines, an R-1 rifle with two loaded magazines, and two loaded pistols.
“ An investigation by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) is underway as police have reason to believe that these suspects could be behind a spate of business robberies, courier van robberies and cargo truck hijackings, ” he said.
While adding that three R-5 assault rifles, two AK-47 assault rifles, one 303 assault rifle, and four pistols were recovered from the six scenes, the police chief said four of the eight vehicles seized were positively confirmed as either hijacked or stolen.
He said the jamming device was also seized from the suspects.
“ The firearms will be subjected to ballistic testing for possible linkage to other serious and violent crimes.
“It is heartwarming to observe how since the relaunching and receiving of a fleet of high powered vehicles from Gauteng Provincial Government, the HP Unit has hit the ground running, delivering significant successes on a daily basis, including the recovery of illegal firearms and patrolling of the freeways across the Province,” Mawela said.