Malawian suspect wanted for R5m Cape robbery found hiding in closet

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Johannesburg – A Malawian suspect who was wanted for a business robbery which took place in Plettenberg Bay last month, was found hiding in a closet in Johannesburg. 

More than R5million had been allegedly stolen during the robbery. 

The suspect’s car was traced through the license plate recognition cameras and he was found in Dowerglen, Edenvale on Tuesday.

He was allegedly found in possession of explosives, police said.

Gauteng police spokesperson, Colonel Lungelo Dlamini confirmed the arrest, but he could not give more details on the Plettenburg Bay robbery. He said the incident was being investigated by the police in the Western Cape. 

According to the Gauteng Department of Community Safety Head of Department, Yoliswa Makhasi, police traced the vehicle to Edenvale on Tuesday afternoon and a backup was summoned to the scene. 

She added that upon arrival, police found a lady who allegedly told them that the vehicle, a silver grey Land Rover Discovery, belonged to her 35-year-old boyfriend who was not at home at the time.

She said police searched the house and found the suspect in the closet and proceeded to search the vehicle that was parked in the property and found the eight blasting cartridges and one electrical detonator. 

Makhasi said the suspect was arrested and charged with being in possession of explosives. 

In a seperate matter in Mpumalanga, police said three men appeared at the Carolina Regional Court on Wednesday for the second time since their arrest in May 2019 for the alleged robbery of a local foreign-owned shop in Badplaas.

 

The trio, Sipho Patrick Mathibela, 31, Tshepo Presley Mashele, 32, and Rendani Marshal Ndou, 38, were arrested within minutes after they allegedly stormed into the shop armed with firearms and robbed the occupants of goods and cash to the tune of R15 000. They then fled the scene taking the Carolina direction.

 

Brigadier Leonard Hlathi of the Mpumalanga Police said a detective who was also driving towards the same direction to attend a court case in Carolina got wind of the matter through the police radio.

At the same time, the suspects’ vehicle – a blue Volkswagen Polo, overtook the officer, Hlathi said.

“His vast police experience kicked in, as he assessed the situation as dangerous for him to tackle the suspects by himself. The quick thinking cop contacted the neighbouring police station ahead, Carolina to intercept the vehicle that he was now following.

 

“Police at Carolina set up a Vehicle Check Point and as soon as the suspects’ vehicle pitched up, they discovered that the men and women in blue have long been waiting for them and it was pulled over for a search. 

“Cash as well as cigarette boxes and the victim’s driver’s licence were recovered. Two firearms with serial numbers filed off were also found and seized. 

 

“The dedicated detective continued his investigation and has since established that one of the firearms had been stolen at Varderbijlpark in Gauteng. Also that the one suspect, Mashele was wanted for a murder case at Bushbuckridge, where he was known as Tumelo Presley Theko. 

“The Provincial Commissioner of the police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma appreciated the sterling work done by all members involved in capturing the villains. 

“General Zuma particularly could not withhold his appreciation for the dedicated member (detective) who was instrumental in ensuring that these suspects do not evade arrest and for his dedication and discipline in ensuring that further investigations are carried out regarding the suspects.” Hlathi said.

The Star

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