KZN cops close in on 'Doorbell Gang'

2015-04-13 10:27

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Chelsea Pieterse, The Witness

Pietermaritzburg - A high-speed chase through the streets of Pietermaritzburg leading to a key arrest could see the noose tighten on one of the city's most notorious gangs.

A new twist on the five-minute gang theme, the “Doorbell Gang” is thought to also be operating in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Ringing the doorbell to check no one is home before they hit their target, the sophisticated burglars are believed to have been involved in over 80 upmarket home robberies in Pietermaritzburg in the last 18 months, stealing goods valued at millions of rands.

The Combined Action Team (CAT), which involves the Mountain Rise SAPS and several private security firms, had been tracking the Doorbell Gang for months.

R1m in jewellery, electronics

Senior members of CAT, who cannot be named, said the gang’s modus operandi was to “hit” on weekends and they knew the gang would be “restless for another break-in”.

The arrest also led to the seizure of over R1 million in jewellery and high-end home theatre equipment, while several vehicles were also impounded.

“This is a victory for the community. It wasn’t luck that we found these men, it was a lot of hard work and planning that led us to them,” said one source.

The team spotted an Audi often used in the burglaries on Greytown Road at around 19:30 on Saturday.

Chase

“We gave chase, but when the gang tried to run over an SAPS officer, we then fired three shots at their vehicle’s tyres.”

The chase ended in Asherville where the five gang members abandoned their luxury vehicle and ran into deep bush surrounding the area.

Only the driver was apprehended, and he then began to “co-operate” with CAT members.

Leading the suspect by the arm, the CAT searched the bush, looking for the remaining four, until 06:00 the next morning.

The driver then told the team about a house the gang used to store stolen goods in at Thembalihle and led them to its doorstep, leading to the recovery of the jewellery and electronics.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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