10-second Gang’ foiled

2014-05-21 00:00

A GANG of brazen housebreakers led police on a high-speed chase through Glenwood, culminating in a three-car pile-up outside one of Durban’s busiest hospitals yesterday.

One of the alleged robbers, wounded in an exchange of fire with a security officer, remains in a critical but stable condition under police guard.

Another was arrested by Metro Police Dog Unit officers after abandoning a private security vehicle, which was hijacked in the wake of their botched robbery. The gang is understood to be responsible for a spate of housebreakings across the city and is thought to be part of the notorious “10-Second Gang”.

In his haste to flee, the injured robber lost control of his car and collided with two others outside the entrance to the Life Entabeni Hospital.

He was treated at the scene by paramedics and rushed to the King Edward VIII Hospital for urgent care.

Three women sustained minor injuries in the pile-up.

Three of the gang member’s cohorts remain at large, having hijacked a private security vehicle when the guard responded to a burglar alarm in Elland Road in the suburb of Manor Gardens.

Blue Security operations director Henk van Bemmelen said the security guard had been responding to another alarm when he was flagged down by a passer-by, who pointed out a gang of five armed robbers.

“As our reaction officer approached the gang, the driver of the Corolla tried to run him over, while the other members fired several shots at him. He returned fire and shot the driver of the Corolla before taking cover behind a vehicle,” he said.

The injured driver lost control and crashed into two cars near the hospital while the other gang members hijacked the Blue Security car and fled.

The vehicle was later tracked to Chesterville.

“The injured gang member was taken under police guard to a nearby hospital. We believe that he is a wanted suspect who may be linked to a string of armed robberies in Durban,” Van Bemmelen said.

A police source close to the investigation, who cannot be named, said that investigators were confident of linking the gang to spate of similar burglaries in Durban suburbs.

He said that a police radio was recovered in the getaway car, along with a flat-screen TV and a laptop that were stolen in the robbery.

He added that the car had been stolen and fitted with false number plates and the chassis and engine numbers had been altered.

The source said the gang had broken into a property in Morningside just hours before.

“They are known as the 10-second gang. They use crowbars to rip security gates off the walls and are in and out before any security officers respond,” he said.

Mazisi Kunene (formerly South Ridge) Road was closed while police forensic investigators combed the vehicle for fingerprints and placed stolen items in evidence bags.

A paramedic, who cannot be named as he is not authorised to speak to the press, said that the robber had sustained a gunshot wound to his arm.

“The man was in a critical condition having sustained a single gunshot wound to his arm. There is a danger that the man may lose his arm as the bone had been shattered by the bullet,” the medic said.

RescueCare spokesperson Garrith Jamieson said that three women had sustained minor to moderate injuries. “The speeding car slammed into a BMW and another car which it had pushed up the hill in his haste to flee the scene. All of the wounded were treated at the scene and then transported the short distance to Life Entabeni Hospital for further urgent care,” he said.

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‘Lucky to be unhurt’

Donna Herschel, whose vehicle was run off the road by the injured robber, insisted that she was lucky to have emerged from the accident unscathed.

“I was with my friend and we had left the university and just as we came to the foot of the hill leading to Entabeni Hospital I noticed this car driving really close behind me. The driver looked like he was slouched over the steering wheel.”

“There was a car in front of me so I slowed down and he smashed into me kept ramming my car up the hill. He drove onto the pavement to try get past me and pushed me into oncoming traffic before he hit the other car,” she said.

“My friend ran up to his window and he was covered in blood. Police arrived and pulled their guns out and told us to get down before they arrested him,” she said.

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