Manhunt for Durban computer bandits

2015-07-28 14:19
(File, Nielen de Klerk, News24)

(File, Nielen de Klerk, News24)

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Durban - Police have cast a dragnet for members of a business robbery gang that remains at large in Durban.

The gunmen struck in the dead of night last week Thursday and went after expensive computer equipment, the police said.

A spree, in which the group hit four businesses within two hours, was halted when they took on police officers who were responding to an alarm in Pinetown.

News24 reported that a dramatic showdown between police officers and house robbers ended in a car chase and an exchange of gunfire on the Thursday morning.

Two men were arrested, while two of their alleged accomplices remained on the run.

Suspects wounded

Before sunrise, members of the K9 Dog Unit had responded to a business robbery near Henwood Road west of Durban.

According to police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker: “Four suspects allegedly stormed into the premises and robbed the occupants of computer equipment and personal items before fleeing in their getaway vehicle.

“Police responding to the incident confronted the suspects on the M19 highway near Pinetown and the suspects opened fire on police. Police retaliated and during the chase the suspects lost control of their vehicle and crashed,” Naicker added.

“They fled into the bushes and police, with their dogs, pursued them. Two had sustained gunshot wounds and were apprehended by police."

He said stolen goods and housebreaking equipment were recovered during a search of the area.

“Both the arrested suspects were taken to hospital for medical attention and are under police guard. They will be charged and will appear in the Pinetown Magistrates Court as soon as they are released from hospital. A manhunt is underway for the two outstanding suspects.”

CCTV footage places gang at several scenes

It has since emerged that the men may be linked to four cases of business robbery from that evening alone.

A source with knowledge of the investigation, who could not be named because he is not authorised to speak to the press, told News24 that CCTV footage had placed the gang at several scenes in the lead-up to the shooting.

“The first stop was the Virgin Active at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, and from the footage one can see they went straight for the computers. They then hit Nashua Mobile in Umhlanga and went on to a business in Nipper Road in Pinetown,” the source said.

“When they hit the business in Henwood Road the police was onto them and the whole gun battle ensued. Some computer equipment from the Nipper Road business robbery was found in their car.

“There are a couple of suspects who are still on the run. This is a gang that targets businesses in Durban and electronics are the prize,” the source added.

Virgin Active spokesperson Les Aupais confirmed the branch had been robbed, but declined to comment further.

Read more on:    durban  |  crime

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