PROVINCIAL COMMISSIONER APPLAUDS POLICE AND TRACKER CONNECT FOR ARRESTING SUSPECTS WHO DISGUISED THEMSELVES AS POLICE
Nelspruit – The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma has applauded police from Gauteng, Mpumalanga as well as Tracker Connect Team who collectively arrested three suspects, aged between 26 and 36, on Thursday 27 February 2020 at Emalahleni, for robbery, impersonating police as well as for possession of suspected stolen property.
The arrest of the suspects is part of the police’s efforts to put an end as well as bring to justice all the suspects who are terrorising motorists by posing as different law enforcement agencies, where they would often pull over vehicles and rob occupants of their goods or belongings around Delmas on the N12 and Emalahleni on the N4, between Balmoral and Bronkhorspruit as well as surrounding areas. Police have registered several cases at which suspects masquerading as law enforcement agencies would flash blue lights at the motorists signalling them to stop, then rob them of their belongings or cargo in the case of trucks. Some of the victims happen to be foreign nationals and domestic tourists who according to information, are usually followed from Gauteng then pounced on around Witbank and Delmas respectively.
In Delmas, vehicles that are targeted include trucks transporting different cargo, they also stop the drivers by flashing a blue light then force them to drive to secluded areas, the suspects then tie the victims, empty the loads, leaving them( victims) helpless in the bushes. Overwhelming complaints were reported at Delmas police station however, the modus operandi revealed that police in Mpumalanga were facing a common challenge with their counterparts in Gauteng and therefore worked together hence the breakthrough. After receiving these complaints, both provinces have been initially working on a plan that would bring an end to this reign of terror. They then coordinated their activities diligently as a collective with Tracker Connect Team and monitored movements of these suspects.
According to reports, police analysed the suspects’ trends, flowing from Gauteng. It is also however known that some of the victims were followed from Nelspruit and other areas in the lowveld but pounced on around Witbank and Delmas. On the said date, police spotted a VW Polo on the N4 National road which fitted the same description of the vehicle they were looking for and it had three occupants, they(police) instructed the driver to stop but he deliberately ignored them. The actions of the driver led to a high-speed chase where the suspects were finally cornered at Emalahleni. Upon searching the three suspects as well as the vehicle, police recovered SAPS Appointment Cards, cell phones believed to be those belonging to the victims as well as other items. The trio were immediately brought to book and charged accordingly.
Extensive investigation into the matter is underway but police are not yet convinced that these are the only suspects operating around Delmas and Emalahleni. A preliminary probe suggests that the trio might be connected to several cases which were committed mainly in Mpumalanga and Limpopo Provinces respectively. They (police) have vowed to broaden the scope of their investigations against the suspects with a view to ascertain whether the trio are involved in the series of criminal activities, that have been registered around White River and Hazyview as well as other areas where foreign nationals in the main, were victims.
General Zuma welcomed the arrest of the three men and thanked the team of police from Mpumalanga, Gauteng as well as Tracker Connect for their relentless efforts in dealing with this type of sophisticated crime. “The arrest of the trio has somewhat come as a breakthrough for us and I have ordered for a thorough investigation into this case, especially because police items were used to commit crime. The investigation will reveal how the suspects got hold of these items. Anyone who will be found to have crossed the line, will face the full might of the law. We cannot allow individuals to drag the name of the law enforcement agencies through the mud without any consequence, ” said General Zuma.
Police cannot rule out possibilities of linking the suspects to other reported cases of robberies in and around the province.
Meanwhile the three suspects were expected to appear at the Witbank Magistrate’s Court, Monday 02 March 2020. The police are also making an earnest call to victims who were robbed at the areas mentioned but did not open cases to please approach the Witbank Police Station for help