Fake cops’ escape bid

2012-11-28 00:00

THE Pietermaritzburg court resembled a crime scene yesterday as police came out in numbers to foil a planned escape by a gang of “fake cop” robbers.

The five men were arrested last week after robbing a business in Lincoln Road of an undisclosed amount of money while dressed in police uniform. They also had a fake police appointment card and a genuine one.

At least 24 police members in 12 vehicles from different units, including the Pietermaritzburg Dog Unit, Tactical Response Team (TRT) and members from the Mountain Rise police station were deployed to secure the magistrate’s courts and the suspects.

Mountain Rise police station commander Brigadier Francis Bantham said she was also in court to monitor the situation.

Police spokesperson Joey Jeevan said that Mountain Rise police had received information from the Crime Intelligence Unit that the five suspects would attempt to escape.

“Any information we receive that says suspects might try to escape, we take very seriously.

“In this case we deployed our best units. There must have been at least 12 vehicles each with two people inside from our highly trained teams to make sure that if they tried anything we were ready.”

She said the teams escorted the suspects to court and back to prison and ensured that no attempt was made inside the courts.

“These suspects are high profile targets, besides being linked to several crimes; we also believe that they are part of a larger gang so we could not take any chances. If there was any assistance to help them escape we were ready for it.”

Jeevan said the police were still investigating how the suspects secured police uniforms and the equipment they used during the robbery.

Bantham told The Witness yesterday that after they received information about the escape, she went there herself to make sure nothing happened.

“They could not even try to escape,” she said.

The five men, aged between 36 and 52, initially tried to gain access to the PPL Scrapyard in Lincoln Road, but the security guard would not let them in.

They returned later dressed in police uniform, held up staff and robbed the business of an undisclosed amount of money.

They were later arrested by the police and were found with five cellphones, four wallets, two guns, and fake and genuine police identification cards.

Yesterday the men were remanded in custody until December 4 pending further investigation.

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