Five men were arrested and four firearms recovered after cellphone shop in Greenacres mall, Port Elizabeth, was robbed.
SAPS spokesperson Captain Khaya Thonjeni said six or seven people had walked into the shop around 12.30pm Wednesday 1 August, pretending to be customers.
“One firearm was produced and the three front assistants were ushered to the back of the store where the manager was busy,” Thonjeni said.
The manager was instructed to open the safe and around 35 cellphones were removed, he said. They left the store with the phones, 2 laptops, the employees personal phones and some petty cash.
As the suspects exited the centre, they were met at the entrance by SAPS Mount Road members. The suspects fired at police while attempting to get away. One suspect was arrested and a 9mm pistol recovered.
“A daring pursuit by SAPS members started outside the Greenacres shopping mall as the suspects emerged from the centre and got into a waiting Toyota Etios,” Thonjeni said.
Vehicles from all over the cluster (Kabega Park, Walmer, Gelvandale, TRT, PE Flying Squad, PE K9 Unit and the Mount Road OCC) immediately responded.
“The suspects abandoned their vehicle in Burt Drive where they alighted and started running in different directions. PE Flying Squad arrested the driver as he ran up Burt Drive.”
Five suspects and four firearms was recovered in Van Der Vyfer/Nugget, Middleton and CJ Langenhoven Roads by the various teams, with one of the suspects sustaining a gunshot wound to his wrist.
Police suspect that he may have been shot by his own accomplices when they exited the mall.
The suspects aged between 25- 35 years old would appear in court on Friday, 3 August 2018 on charges of business robbery, attempted murder and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, among other charges.
The stolen cellphones and a signal jamming machine was found the Toyota Etios. The vehicle has been confiscated by police for forensic analysis.
Mount Road Cluster Commander Major General Patekile visited all five crime scenes. He said excellent communication between the various stations and units is crucial in the speedy response and apprehension of suspects.
“These arrests shows that the responsibility of the SAPS in ensuring the safety and security of our citizens in South Africa is a priority,” Patekile said. “We will not be sharing any space with criminals and they must be removed from society so that the people of Port Elizabeth can move freely without any fear. We will continue to stamp the authority of the State in our efforts to prevent, combat and investigate crime,” Patekile said.
“Despite being shot at, our members were relentless and ensured that these suspects were apprehended.”
Patekile commended his police officers for their immediate response.