The police in Limpopo stopped a business robbery in Motetema, Grobersdal on Friday afternoon, 23 July, at approximately 15:00. Four of the suspects were arrested and the fifth was fatally wounded in the shootout with officers. One of the men taken into custody was found to be a South African Police Service (SAPS) Constable.
POLICE FOIL BUSINESS ROBBERY AFTER TIP-OFF
The police received intelligence about the suspects that were allegedly intending to rob a business in the Leewfontein area, according to SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo.
A multidisciplinary team consisting of the Limpopo Tracking Team, Limpopo Provincial Investigating Unit, Pretoria Airwing and Motema Detectives worked together to trace the suspects.
“The armed suspects had already entered the business premises when the operatives arrived. When noticing the police, the suspects reportedly got into two vehicles and sped off into different directions,” said Mojapelo.
The police set after the suspects and a high speed car chase ensued – one of the suspect vehicles headed towards Mapyane and shots were fired at officers from inside the car. The police returned fire. When the vehicle came to a stop, two injured suspects were arrested immediately.
“One of them was identified as a police Constable stationed at Mahwelereng Police Station,” said Mojapelo.
The third suspect in the vehicle was found fatally wounded. A firearm was allegedly found in the car.
The other suspects were cornered in their vehicle near Groblersdal and two suspects were arrested – another firearm was found in that vehicle.
“The arrest of one of our members should send a strong message that the [SAPS] does not have a place for criminals masquerading as police members,” said Limpopo police commissioner Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe.
The suspects – aged between 34 and 36 – are expected to appear before the Motetema Magistrate’s Court imminently. They will face charges of business robbery, murder, attempted murder, possession of illegal firearms and ammunition, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and reckless and negligent driving.
The investigation continues.