Shop robbers kill policeman

2007-11-28 00:00

The drama apparently started at about 9.30 am yesterday morning when the six unknown men, armed with high calibre rifles and handguns, entered Aheer’s Multisave Superstore in Voortrekker Street in the Greytown CBD and held up the staff on duty.

The store manager was threatened at gunpoint and ordered to open the safe, which he did. The suspects then took an undisclosed substantial amount of cash from the safe before fleeing the scene on to the street.

However, just as they were attempting their escape, the two police officers, patrolling the area in their vehicle, passed the store.

The officers had not been aware of the armed robbery in progress and were ambushed by the fleeing robbers, who fired several shots at their vehicle.

Police spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan said the vehicle veered off the road and came to a stop.

Mewa was killed by a shot to the head. Maharaj sustained a gunshot wound to the neck. He was airlifted to St Anne’s hospital, where last night he was still in a critical condition.

After shooting the police officers, the suspects fled in the police vehicle.

“The suspects then also hijacked two customers who had just arrived to shop in the store, and fled in their car from the scene,” Jeevan said.

Some time later, both the hijacked vehicles were found overturned and abandoned on the Inadi Road, five kilometres away from the store.

“The suspects had fled into the nearby sugar cane plantation,” Jeevan said. Police found several spent 9 mm and AK47 cartridges at the scene.

Police conducted an extensive search and a short while later two suspects were arrested in the vicinity.

Further investigations led police to a nearby area called Arens (Ematimatolo) where three other suspects were arrested.

AK47 rifles and 9mm pistols were found in their possession.

Police believe that there may have also been several other suspects keeping guard outside the store and further arrests are imminent.

Aheer’s management declined to comment. The arrested suspects will make a court appearance in the Greytown Magistrate’s Court shortly and investigations are continuing.

The Greytown robbery is the third of its kind in KZN this week. Pep Stores in Richmond was robbed on Monday morning, and Club Oregon in Dalton was robbed that night with the same modus operandi.

The suspects were caught in both incidents.

The slain Mewa had 28 years of unblemished service after joining the police in 1979. He became a member of the Dog Unit in 1996.

He is survived by his wife and three children — a 16-year-old son and two daughters aged 20 and 22 years.

The SAPS management extended their condolences to the Mewas and expressed shock at what it described as the senseless killing of a dedicated policeman.

The SAPS vowed to leave no stone unturned in bringing the perpetrators to book.

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