Armed Tongaat robbers get heavy sentences

2016-10-06 06:00

THREE men were sentenced to 72 years at the Durban High Court last week on several counts, including murder.

The men were also linked to a robbery that occurred at a Tongaat store in March 2014.

Phelelani Luthuli (22), Sifiso Ngonoma (26) and Sibongiseni Zulu (22) were found guilty of robbery with aggravated circumstances, murder, two counts of unlawful possession of ammunition, two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm and three counts of attempted murder.

In the 2014 incident four gun-wielding men entered the shop and held up staff and customers demanding cash.

The suspects forced the cashiers to lie on the floor while another suspect removed cash from the safe.

Tongaat SAPS received an anonymous call alerting them about a robbery in progress at the store.

According to information received from Tongaat SAPS, when the police arrived at the scene two suspects ran away on foot and two pretended to be customers.

The two who pretended to be customers were arrested after being identified by customers.

The two suspects who fled ran to the Tongaat CBD and police gave chase.

There was an exchange of fire between them and the police.

One of the suspects, Bhekuzalo Luthuli (35), was shot dead during the shoot-out with police.

About R22 000 was stolen from the store, but later recovered by the police after the suspects were defeated in a gun battle.

SAPS spokesperson in Tongaat, Warrant Officer­ Manisha Maharaj-Marie, welcomed the conviction and commended the police for a job well done.

“We would like to commend our members for a job well done.

“Detectives and the investigating officer worked tirelessly to ensure that the suspects get a heavy sentence.

“The management of Tongaat SAPS applauds the members who worked on this case,” she said.

In a separate incident, three armed men entered a store in the Tongaat CBD and robbed the owner.

According to the police the owner was closing his store at about 6.15pm when the armed men held him up in gunpoint and
demanded cash.

“The suspects forced the owner to lie on the floor and tied him up with cable ties before putting him into another room inside the store.

“The suspects took R30 000 from the safe and the victim’s two cellphones. Police are investigating a case of business robbery,” she said.

At the time of going to press, no arrests had been made and the two fleeing suspects are still at large.

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