Armed robbers nabbed

2011-03-01 00:00

A FIVE-HOUR search by police resulted in the arrests of four men believed to have been involved in an armed robbery in Msinsini, just outside Port Shepstone, on Friday. Another was shot dead by police.

At around 2.30 pm on Friday, Constable Phindile Hlophe from the Msinsini police attended to a business robbery complaint at Clifton Park store in the Msinsini rural area. The owner of the store, Achmed Goolam, and his wife Kajaal were with two employees in their shop when four men entered.

The men were allegedly armed with three handguns. They locked the shop door and told the four victims to go to the office and lie on the floor. The robbers then took airtime, bags of tobacco, cash from Goolam’s pocket, his firearm and Kajaal’s jewellery before running out of the shop — slamming the door shut.

When Goolam heard a vehicle start outside, he jumped up and looked through the window, seeing a cream-coloured VW Jetta departing at a high speed.

The police were contacted and the search began.

Members from the Msinsini police station and the K9 unit from Port Shepstone began the mammoth task of searching for the vehicle among the hills and valleys in the area.

“The community assisted us tremendously and pointed us towards the direction in which the alleged robbers fled,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Zandra Wiid of the SAPF.

At about 4.30 pm, the car was found in the garage of a house allegedly belonging to a man who operates minibus taxis and who was in the Durban area at the time.

This was about 25 km away from the shop where the robbery took place.

The car was screened and was recorded as stolen in Isipingo in February and most of the stolen property was found in the car.

A Golf, also with an ND registration plate, was found at the house. Both vehicles were impounded to be investigated.

Community members in the area told police that the men ran into the house. When police entered the house, it was discovered that the suspects had gone into the dense bush surrounding the area. Constable Mthoko Gumede from Msinsini called for back-up and approached the bushes. Hearing the suspects, he warned them to stop, but they shot at him instead.

Police returned fire and the chase continued. Two of the men were arrested and found with money and airtime stolen from the shop in their possession. One of the men had a gunshot wound to the arm. At approximately 7.30 pm police apprehended the remaining two robbers who were hiding in the valley below the house.

According to Wiid, one was wounded in the buttocks and died later. The stolen jewellery was found in his pockets.

Two of the alleged robbers were detained in police custody, while the one with the gunshot wound to the arm was taken to hospital.

They will face charges of business robbery and attempted murder.

“An inquest docket was opened for the deceased,” said Wiid, who praised the officers for sterling work. — Witness Reporter.

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