KZN’s ‘most wanted’ held

2016-05-12 09:10


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Pietermaritzburg - One of the province’s most wanted criminals, who has been linked to a string of violent crimes, was nabbed in a joint police operation on Tuesday night.

The 36-year-old man was hauled into custody along with his 28-year-old girlfriend during an operation by the Hawks, Crime Intelligence, Task Force and Durban K9 unit.

It is believed the man is linked to the murder of a police officer in Gingindlovu, as well as cash-in-transit heists and attempted murder cases across the province.

The man may also be the leader of a gang involved in a robbery in Mountain Rise last year, in which a local security boss narrowly escaped death.

Described by police as “the most wanted and dangerous suspect”, the man was found in possession of three AK47 rifles, two pistols and more than 350 rounds of ammunition at his KwaMashu home.

According to a police source, the man was caught completely unawares, watching TV when police came through the door.

According to a media statement by the Hawks, the pair will be charged for the possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition, and will appear in the Ntuzuma Magistrate’s Court on Friday. “The recovered firearms will be sent for testing to ascertain if they were used in the commission of crime in the country,” the Hawks said.

According to Lieutenant Simphiwe Mhlongo, the man was positively linked to the murder of Warrant Officer Jericho Mdletshe (52), who was gunned down in November last year when he and his partner, ­Constable Senzo Ndwandwe (37), ­responded to a robbery in Gingindlovu.

Mdletshe, in the service for 27 years, was expected to take early ­retirement in January this year.

Mhlongo said the man is also believed to be linked to a robbery at the BP Oasis petrol station on the N3 in March, when armed robbers escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash after disarming a police officer.

It is believed the man was also part of the gang that opened fire on security guards during a heist at the Whitehouse Shopping Centre in Phoenix in March.

Five people were wounded in the crossfire between security guards and the robbers, who fled with two boxes containing cash.

A police source said the man may also be linked to a brazen ­shootout between armed robbers and two security bosses in Mountain Rise in May last year.

The gang attacked and robbed businessman Ismail Dhoda outside his home, after which the gunmen turned on Magma Security owner Shaheen Suleiman and friend Shameel Ally, director of Ilanga Security. A bullet grazed Suleiman’s cheek as the gang fled the area in a blaze of gunfire.

The source said the man now in custody may have been the ring leader of that gang.

KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni said detectives had continuously tracked the man’s movements.

“This suspect remained elusive for a long time and detectives had continuously been tracking his movements. The fact that he was armed to his teeth is an indication of how dangerous he is,” she said.

Community Safety MEC Willies Mchunu praised the police for their operation, saying it gave confidence to the province that police “were ready and willing to bring those behind criminality to book”.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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