Police launch manhunt for armed robbers

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Johannesburg - Gauteng police have launched a manhunt for 17 suspects in connection with an armed robbery that occurred last night at the Brakpan shopping complex in the East Rand.

According to police spokesperson Constable Tsietsi Lamola, police are searching for the 17 suspects who got away during an armed robbery, where one robber was shot and two others were arrested.

Lamola told BuaNews that 20 armed robbers struck at the shopping complex, robbing five stores, injuring a customer and shooting a passing motorist late yesterday.

"The armed gang arrived at the VC Spar complex in two sedans and a minibus around 7pm. The gang took liquor from the bottle store, cellphones and jewellery from patrons and customers."

Lamola said after the robbery, the suspects fled in three cars and the police intercepted the gang as they made their getaway and pursued them along the N17 towards Johannesburg.

At the Gosforth Toll Plaza, a shootout erupted between the robbers and police. During the shootout, one robber was shot and wounded, while two others were arrested.

Police found three firearms and some of the loot stolen from the shopping complex.

The robbery came hours after President Jacob Zuma had met with more than 1 000 police commissioners from across the country.

He expressed his support for an amendment to the law to strengthen the hand of police in dealing with violent criminals.

"We intend to finalise amendments to Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act, with a view to taking the amendments to Parliament soon."

He said this measure was aimed specifically at dealing with serious violent crime and dangerous criminals.

The meeting was aimed at providing police bosses with a platform to table challenges they faced at their respective stations.