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Ten suspects caught with firearms, stolen goods and ‘housebreaking implements’

The suspects were arrested by Mooinooi Detectives and Brits Tactical Response Team (TRT) after a string of robberies in the area.

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The South African Police Service confirmed on Saturday 31 October 2020 that ten suspects will appear for possession of unlicensed firearms, ammunition, possession of stolen goods and “housebreaking implements”.

String of robberies in Brits

According to the Provincial Commissioner of North West, Lieutenant General Sello Kwena, the accused appeared in the Brits Magistrates’ Court on Friday and were remanded in custody until 9 November.

As per the SAPS statement, the suspects were arrested by Mooinooi Detectives and Brits Tactical Response Team (TRT) on Wednesday, 28 October 2020, after the team received a tip-off about “suspicious armed men”.

“[The accused were] spotted at a certain house in Matamong informal settlement, Mooinooi outside Brits. It is alleged that the accused aged between 23 and 34 were found at their rented place where two shacks were searched”.

Ammunition, stolen goods and tools found

Authorities found three unlicensed 9mm pistols, as well as a rifle, 38 rounds of ammunition, suspected stolen goods such as cellphones, a pair of takkies, computer monitor and various tools.

It was later revealed that some of the firearms were reported stolen in Tsakane, Gauteng. Authorities will continue with the investigation, and Lieutenant General Sello Kwena applauded members for their rapid response.

He also thanked members of the community for providing information vital to the investigation, and for working “with the police in the fight against crime”.

Robberies in Witbank

Earlier this week in an unrelated case, five suspects between the ages of 31 and 47 appeared before the Emalahleni Magistrate’s Court for unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.

The suspects were arrested in Witbank on Wednesday 28 October 2020 after committing robberies “in various areas in the province including the recent attack at Badplaas Police Station” in September.

“In [the Badplaas Police Station] robbery, a group of suspects held members at gunpoint after pretending to be seeking ‘police help’. [The suspects] then demanded safe keys and got away with three firearms, including an R5 rifle, two pistols as well as ammunition”.

Suspects apprehended

Authorities tracked the suspects to a farm in Calcutta near Hazyview. One suspect was found hiding at the farm, and authorities found a “suspicious white Ford Ranger” and a firearm with its serial number filed off.

The vehicle was seized as officials “strongly believed that it was used in the execution of armed robberies which was carried out by the suspects”. Two suspects were also traced to Mkhuhlu near Hazyview and Kanyamazane near Nelspruit whilst.

A fourth suspect was arrested at Elukwatini near Badplaas. Authorities also seized cash (including banknotes in foreign currency) airtime vouchers and other stolen items.

“Preliminary investigation has since revealed that some of those firearms that were confiscated, including a pistol as well as the rifle, belonged to the state and are believed to have been stolen during the robbery at the police station last month”.

Three of the suspects appeared before the Emalahleni Magistrate’s court on 29 October, while two suspects will be appearing at the Eerstehoek Magistrate’s Court in Elukwatini on 2 November 2020.