‘Brazen gang’ in custody

2016-01-22 11:00


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Pietermaritzburg - Alleged to be implicated in almost a dozen violent robberies, men who allegedly formed a brazen gang of armed robbers terrorising valley residents surrounding Camperdown have been nabbed.

After a crime spree lasting about three months, five men believed to be behind the spate of ferocious attacks on Killarney Valley, Tala Valley and Cato Ridge residents have been taken into custody.

With multiple homes being targeted almost every week, a partnership was formed between the Camperdown police and Magma Security detectives to put an end to the violence.

Magma Security director Shaheen Suleiman said it had been a week of sleepless nights since investigations began, but their efforts paid off on Wednesday morning when they hauled in the first suspect.

Within hours, the team gathered information on the whereabouts of the remaining gang members and a convoy of Magma vehicles, followed by a parade of blue lights, sped off to Inchanga.

Working through all of Wednesday night, all five alleged gang members were arrested and were yesterday seen with their heads hanging, seated behind the bars of a holding cell in the Camperdown police station.

It is believed the gang was originally from Hammarsdale, but moved the operation to Inchanga, from where new recruits were drawn in.

According to a police source, the gang would drive in from Inchanga into the targeted areas, commit the crimes and flee. The syndicate then allegedly sold the stolen items to a buyer in Durban.

Electronics, jewellery and firearms allegedly stolen by the gang were also recovered from their buyer in Durban.

The gang was positively linked to almost a dozen cases, and police spokesperson Mthokozisi Ngobese said investigations were still continuing and the gang’s rap sheet could grow substantially.

It is believed the gang was behind the attack on a paediatric nurse at the Lily of the Valley children’s village in Eston on Tuesday night. The men also allegedly attacked and robbed Patrick and Heather Reynolds, who run the God’s Golden Acre child welfare centre in Killarney Valley.

Community members yesterday applauded Suleiman, Camperdown police station commander Lieutenant-Colonel Jody Riley and Camperdown detective commander Mshikizwa Mzolo.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, Suleiman said even though the gang’s victims were not his clients, his team had taken on the case because he could not bear the effect the gang’s activities were having on the community.

“We could not lose more lives in our community and we just want residents to be safe and not be terrorised by these gangs,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of Riley, Ngobese said after the police had expressed their challenges in the media, they had received positive feedback from the community which contributed to the gang’s arrest.

“We appreciate the partnership between police, private security and the community, Ngobese said.

The men are to appear in the Camperdown Magistrate’s Court soon on multiple charges of robbery, assault with the intention to commit grievous bodily harm, and possession of unlicenced firearms and ammunition.

THE gang of five men alleged to be behind the spate of armed robberies and attacks in Killarney Valley, Tala Valley and Cato Ridge, have thus far been linked to almost a dozen cases.

According to police spokesperson Mthokozisi Ngobese, the following cases were some of the most brazen:

• A house robbery on the Vilakazi Farm in Mophela in October. Three men entered the house and threatened the victims with a firearm before escaping with another firearm, ammunition cellphones and laptops.

• A couple celebrating their anniversary at the Tala Game Reserve were attacked by two men at the Fisherman’s Cottage in December. The gunmen broke through a window and attacked the man with a gun, bludgeoning him on the head before escaping with cash, cellphones and a GPS system.

• A woman was stabbed at the Zimmermann farm in December when she found two men trying to steal a TV from her premises.

• A couple were attacked on Stoke Farm in the Tala Valley area in December. Their assailants cut through the burglar guards, tied up the victims with shoelaces and assaulted the man with a firearm.

The robbers made off with electronics, jewellery and a bakkie, later recovered in Inchanga.

• A domestic worker was attacked and bound by three men, two of whom had guns, at Coppins Farm near Eston in December.

The house was ransacked. Electronics were stolen.

• Earlier this month, Brendan ­Reynolds and his family were robbed and assaulted by gunmen at his home in Killarney Valley. A week later, his parents, Patrick and Heather ­Reynolds, were attacked and robbed at God’s Golden Acre child welfare centre located nearby.

• This week, a paediatric nurse at Lily of the Valley children’s village in Eston was attacked on Tuesday night. She was bludgeoned with a firearm before the men escaped with electronics.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime  |  gang

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