One suspect was arrested and an unlicensed firearm, ammunition, cellphones, cigarettes and an undisclosed amount of cash was recovered when police pounced on a gang allegedly involved in a spate of armed robberies at several filling stations in Johannesburg.
According to police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters, an intelligence-driven operation was activated after filling stations were hit by armed robbers in Booysens, Mondeor, Randburg, Norwood, and most recently in Edenvale.
All these robberies were committed in November 2019.
“In line with the SAPS’s commitment to reduce the volumes of serious and violent crime in Gauteng, a multifaceted team that includes Tracker, on Wednesday made a breakthrough in the investigation of a spate of armed robberies at a number of filling stations in Johannesburg,” Peters said.
The investigation of these robberies flagged the same vehicle, a white Chevrolet Cruze, which was subsequently spotted by the police on Wednesday morning on the N12 West near the Diepkloof interchange. This was shortly after a filling station in Edenvale was robbed.
A high-speed chase ensued and shots were reportedly fired from the Chevrolet Cruze.
Police returned fire and the suspects lost control of their vehicle and drove into a ditch.
Three suspects escaped while a fourth suspect, who was wounded, was arrested by the police.
An immediate inspection by Vehicle Crime Investigation Unit members confirmed that the vehicle had been hijacked, according to a case reported at Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal, in April.
Cases of possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, possession of a hijacked vehicle, as well as possession of suspected stolen property have been opened. The firearm will be subjected to ballistic testing to establish a possible link to more armed robberies.
Peters said police have launched a manhunt for the three suspects that escaped and are appealing to anyone who may have information that could lead to the apprehension of the suspects to report to the police by calling the Crime Stop number 08600 10111 or by giving a tip-off on the newly launched MySAPS app, which can be downloaded on to any smartphone.