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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Man linked to airport robberies nabbed in Houghton

JMPD officers were on patrol in the Johannesburg CBD when they received a complaint about a vehicle involved in an armed robbery in Bryanston

 A 31-year-old man who has been linked to a spate of airport robberies has been arrested by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD).

The man was handcuffed by the JMPD’s Undercover Reaction Unit in Houghton on Saturday.

It is understood, JMPD officers were on patrol in the in the Johannesburg CBD when they received a complaint about a vehicle (white BMW) involved in an armed robbery in Bryanston, which was travelling in Yeoville.

Stolen goods

JMPD spokesperson Xolani Fihla said that the officers spotted and intercepted the vehicle at Houghton Drive and St Patrick Road, being driven by the suspect.

“Upon searching the driver and the vehicle, the officers recovered an unlicensed firearm in his possession. The robbed property, which included, an iPad, an iPhone, a laptop, four luggage bags and clothing, was recovered in the vehicle.

 “The robbed property was later identified by the owner who was summoned to the scene and confirmed that he and his family were robbed at gunpoint on his way home from the airport,” Fihla said.

ALSO READ: Joburg’s OR Tambo airport a major trafficking hub, says global report

Airport robberies

Fihla added that the suspect who is allegedly a member of a gang linked with airport robberies was arrested and detained at Hillbrow Saps.

“The vehicle used in the commission of the crime was seized and booked at the SAPS Aeroton pound,” he said.

OR Tambo airport, a major trafficking hub

Meanwhile, a report by Global Initiative has found that Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport is a major trafficking hub for “all sorts of illicit commodities”.

The report said the illicit items that moved through the airport were particularly wildlife products.

“Between 2016 and 2018, OR Tambo recorded the second-largest number of wildlife trafficking seizures of all African airports and the most for rhino horn and drugs,” the report states.

The report, written by Alastair Nelson, a senior analyst at Global Initiative, is titled ‘Convergence of wildlife crime and other forms of transnational organised crime in Eastern and Southern Africa convergence of wildlife crime’.

Additional reporting by Gareth Cotterell

ALSO READ: Cops nab fraudster at OR Tambo after five year on the run

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