Gauteng police arrested two men on Tuesday afternoon 23 February, in connection with multiple jewellery heists.
“The police apprehend a sought suspected jewellery store robber who has been on the run from police since escaping from custody in 2014,” said South African Police Service (Saps) provincial spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters.
According to Peters the police traced the wanted suspect and located him in a vehicle on the M2 offramp in Johannesburg. The suspect was with two passengers in a car, one of them a woman carrying a baby and who was later released as there was no evidence linking her to any crime.
“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 suspect and was armed, jumped out of the vehicle and 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 taken to hospital where he is being treated and detained under police guard,” Peters said.
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Peters said police seized a pistol from the injured suspect and explosives from the vehicle.
“In addition 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,” she said.
The police said that the investigation that is underway had 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 a preliminary investigation linked him to some of the robberies.
“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 robberies is also being probed,” said Peters.
Peters also said the three firearms sized would be subjected to ballistic testing to establish links to any other serious and violent crimes.
Compiled by Reitumetse Makwea