THE Kranskop detectives made a breakthrough in an armed robbery case after nine suspects who had been terrorising businesses in Kranskop were sentenced to prison terms between 20 to 45 years. The accused had appeared at the Durban High Court on September 18. The suspects were sentenced for a business robbery that occurred in Kranskop in July 2017. The suspects: Khehla Makhathini (44) sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment, Xolani Makhathini (40) sentenced to 45 years, Mduduzi Mkhize (27) sentenced 20 years, Khulekani Mthembu (37) sentenced to 20 years, Nkululeko Mthembu (31) sentenced to 35 years, Khayelihle Ndlovu (25) sentenced to 20 years, Khayelisha Ngubane (30) sentenced to 35 years, Syabonga Ngubane (35) sentenced to 35 years and Sandile Shezi (36) sentenced to 35 years. The suspects were accused for a spate of businesses robberies that had been happening in the Kranskop area. According to a police report, the accused has been terrorising businesses in the Kranskop area in 2017. Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said: “It is alleged on July 7, 2017 at 8 am, a group of heavily armed men approached the manager of a supermarket at Kranskop. At gunpoint they stole an undisclosed amount of cash, cigarettes and airtime vouchers. They also robbed the manager of his pistol before fleeing the scene in four getaway vehicles. The suspects also fired several shots as they passed the police station which was not far away from the scene. “Kranskop police immediately mobilised all police units as well as neighbouring stations which led to a large-scale operation being launched to track down the suspects. Ground forces were also assisted by a police chopper.”Thereafter, the police conducted a massive air and ground operation that resulted in positive results. The suspects were found hiding in several houses at KwaDolo — outside of Greytown.“Nine men, including four who were allegedly shot and injured during the shootout with police, were arrested. “Goods taken during the robbery including a firearm belonging to the manager, were recovered. An AK47 rifle, a shotgun and three pistols were recovered from the suspects. The injured men were treated and taken to hospital for further medical assistance under police guard. All four vehicles used by the men were recovered. Three of them were stolen vehicles,” Gwala said.