Crammed car lets ‘gangsters’ down

2013-04-27 00:00

THE pint-sized Fiat Punto is not known for its prowess as a getaway car, especially when transporting the contents of a house.

But three suspected members of a “five-minute gang” thought otherwise — and paid dearly for their dozy planning.

Following a “high-speed” chase on Thursday, police pulled over a Punto on the N3 near Cato Ridge.

Inside the car, which had no plates, were two flat-screen televisions, a computer, various electrical appliances, sound systems, bedding, ornaments and a safe.

Three occupants sharing the cramped space with the booty were arrested and linked to house robberies in Pietermaritzburg suburbs.

Detectives are also investigating whether the men were involved in similar raids on homes in Durban.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said that they were alerted to a suspicious white car on the freeway.

“Police immediately pursued the vehicle and after a high-speed chase managed to stop the vehicle and arrested three male suspects.”

She said the items may have been stolen from two homes in Dunsby Road, Scottsville, and Clifton Road in Athlone.

Both homes were unoccupied at the time.

The Witness has reported about the wave of house robberies in Athlone, Chase Valley, Montrose and Scottsville.

In most cases the home invaders are in and out in under five minutes.

On the weekend of March 17, robbers stole R40 000 in cash, three cars and R150 000 worth of jewellery from two homes in Chase Valley in three days.

In one of the incidents they locked a domestic worker in the bathroom of a property in Troon Terrace, while they ransacked the house and took off in the owner’s car.

Nearly a month later a gang travelling in a flashy vehicle broke into a Chase Valley home, taking a television, cellphone and jewellery worth thousands of rands.

Along the way there have been arrests.

Makabongwe Mazibuko (22), Nhlanhla Miya (22) and Sinethemba Simelane (22) were arrested on March 20 for allegedly burglarising a Clarendon home and stealing two bicycles and several electrical tools.

In a separate incident, Town Hill police arrested three Cinderella Park men on April 1 in connection with a Wembley burglary.

Douglas Moyo (40) and his alleged accomplices, Believe Dube (22) and Libanon Joe (23), were arrested when police allegedly found Moyo with his employer’s stolen revolver.

Two local meter-taxi drivers, Patrick Nomgca (32) and Ayanda Matyolo (26), were arrested for allegedly transporting stolen property for the suspects.

Jeevan said they were unable to confirm how many robberies this week’s suspects have been linked to.

“We don’t want to jeopardise our investigation by giving more information, but we believe they are part of the gang.”

KwaZulu-Natal provincial pommissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni paid tribute to the arresting officers, saying: “The police commitment and dedication to serve and protect all the inhabitants of our country will not in any manner be deterred by the ruthless criminals who are terrorising our community.

“We will fight crime to the bitter end and will come out victorious.”

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