Police have made a major breakthrough in what has been dubbed the “airport-following” robberies‚ committed in and around the Johannesburg area‚ arresting six suspects on Friday night.
A police manhunt has been launched for a seventh suspect who managed to escape evade arrest.
Police spokesman Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said that acting on information‚ members of police based at OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) and the Johannesburg East Cluster‚ had monitored a security vehicle and discovered that the vehicle‚ which is contracted to work at the airport‚ was following a sedan from ORTIA travelling towards Sandton.
“The security vehicle was stopped and it was discovered that one of the occupants was a security company manager who is wanted for a case of possession of unlicensed firearm and an armed robbery case in the Limpopo province. The security company manager as well as a second occupant in the security vehicle were immediately arrested.
“The team worked throughout the night and during early hours of this morning arrested a further four suspects in the Hillbrow area. All six suspects are between 23 and 38 years of age. A seventh suspect managed to escape and he is still at large but being sought by the police‚” Naidoo said.
Several incriminating items‚ including the security vehicle‚ a sedan‚ passports‚ at least 15 cellular phones and several luggage bags had been recovered in Hillbrow‚ he said.
The team also recovered two pistols which would be sent for ballistic testing to establish which crimes‚ if any‚ they might have been used in.
“The team is also investigating the possibility that these may have been the same suspects that are responsible for the robbery of seven foreign visitors at Corlett Drive this past Thursday night.”
A group of seven tourists‚ including an Iraqi diplomat‚ were attacked at the Corlett Drive offramp in Johannesburg on Thursday evening.
The Deputy National Commissioner responsible for Policing‚ Lieutenant-General Fanie Masemola‚ lauded the police members for a job well done.
“The sterling work by these teams has brought us a step closer to cracking these incidents of “airport-following” robberies and they must be commended‚” said Masemola.
“However‚ our job does not end here‚ we will still have a lot to do solve the many robberies that were committed and to prevent new ones from taking place and we won’t rest until we reach a positive outcome‚” Masemola added.