Three arrested for cash heist, police murder

Friday, March 6, 2020

The Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele, has commended the Hawks and the Special Task Force rapid response team that arrested five cash heist suspects, who also allegedly shot and killed two officers in Mahikeng, North West.

Cele on Friday expressed condolences to the families and colleagues of the two deceased members.

"The apprehension of the five suspects, with three fatally shot and two injured, can only bring cold comfort to those who lived and worked with the slain members. We are, however, hoping that it will bring some kind of closure to the bereaved families," the Minister said in the statement. 

Cele has urged the tracing and investigating teams to leave no stone unturned in their effort to find the remaining suspects.

On Thursday, the Hawks were dealt a major below when two of its members were shot dead in a confrontation with an armed group of cash-in-transit robbers in Mahikeng, North West.

“During the gun-battle, three of the gang members were shot dead and four others arrested.  The hunt for the remaining suspects has been intensified and the National Commissioner has ordered all police tracing teams to leave no stone unturned to bring these murderous perpetrators to justice,” Hawks spokesperson, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, said.

It is reported that on Thursday, Special Task Force members engaged suspects around Mahikeng, who were in three vehicles. 

The Hawks said the armed gang had shot and forced a cash security van off the road.

“The suspects were confronted as they blew open the van. The suspects retaliated and took off in different directions. In their attempt to escape, two of the vehicles faced off with members from Technical Operations Management Section (TOMS) of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI),” Mulaudzi said.

During the shootout, Detective Warrant Officer Delene Grobelaar (44) was fatally shot. The suspects managed to flee and a manhunt ensued in earnest. Later in the day, one suspect was tracked and arrested at a Johannesburg hospital. 

“Immediately thereafter, a follow up operation was launched in Coligny, where the wanted suspects were confronted at a filling station by TOMS members.  

“The suspects retaliated with AK 47 rifles, fatally wounding Detective Sergeant Wynand Herbst (42),” he said.

Three suspects were fatally wounded and two seriously injured during the gun battle. Later in the evening, a further two suspects were traced to Ventersdorp. However, they managed to escape.

Mulaudzi said police have so far seized three AK 47 rifles, two 9mm pistols, a bakkie and a minibus connected to the crime.

The National Hawks Head, Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya, has expressed sincere condolences to the families, friends and colleagues the deceased members.

“We shall hunt the members of that organised criminal group that attacked the cash-in-transit vehicle and caused the death of our members.

“We have recently assembled a bigger team under an experienced Brigadier to deal with these matters. Those who have information should provide same to the investigators or the police in general,” said Lebeya.

Meanwhile, the National Commissioner has applauded the team for the successful implementation of the 72-hour Activation Plan.

"I am satisfied with the speedy response by our members to the brazen robbery and subsequent killing of our colleagues yesterday. The search for more suspects is continuing and I have urged our policemen and women to relentlessly continue searching for the remaining suspects, whilst maintaining their own safety,” said General Khehla Sitole. – SAnews.gov.za 

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