It took just two minutes and 10 seconds to arrest a gang who beat a man in the Pietermaritzburg city centre at the weekend, thanks to Safe City’s CCTV technology and co-operation between SAPS and the Safe City team.
Six men were caught in the act of committing robberies in two separate incidents on Saturday and Sunday.
Unaware that an electronic eye was watching them, two small-time gangs pounced on unsuspecting victims in the CBD, but found themselves in the back of a police van in under three minutes. The two incidents happened on Saturday and Sunday in Timber and Church streets.
At two minutes past midnight on Saturday, the first gang was spotted from the CCTV control room trying to rob a man.
Safe City manager Jason Herbert was with his operators and a police officer monitoring the cameras when the crime unfolded.
Herbert said two men were walking from Langalibalele Street towards Timber Street and another four were walking towards them.
“They met at very close range and a few steps after they met, the three guys turned and came back running. They jumped on the two men and started beating them. One of them managed to escape.”
The suspects concentrated on the one who was left. “They kicked him while he was on the ground,” Herbert said, and rummaged in his pockets.
While the brutal assault continued, the SAPS officer in the control room radioed patrolling police.
Seconds later, the police vehicle arrived on the scene. The suspects pretended they had just been walking by, but it was too late to fool the police.
“The police chased them as they tried to escape. Three of them were arrested and they were thrown into the back of the police van. The fourth man managed to escape.”
Herbert said that by the time the suspects were locked in the police van, it was just five minutes after midnight.
The arrested suspects, aged between 17 and 22, will appear in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court shortly.
On Sunday, the police responded to a similar call outside the Cumberland Hotel in Church Street.
Herbert said the incident happened at 30 minutes before midnight.
Four men were stripping a man of his clothes. When the police appeared, they tried to escape, but only one was successful.
The other three were arrested and will appear in court shortly.
Police recovered the victim’s jacket, which was one thing the robbers managed to take off him.
The suspects are believed to be between the ages of 21 and 28.
Herbert applauded the SAPS for their swift response.
“The police were swift and executed the arrests perfectly.”
No shots were fired in either incident.
The police are looking for the two suspects who escaped in both incidents.