The daring pursuit by SAPS members started outside the Greenacres shopping mall as the suspects emerged from the centre and got into a getaway vehicle, a Toyota Etios. It is alleged that at about 12:30, about 6 suspects walked into a cell phone shop in the mall and pretended to be customers. One firearm was produced and the three front assistants were ushered to the back of the store where the manager was busy. The manager was instructed to open the safe and approximately 35 cellphones were removed by the suspects who left the store with the phones, 2 laptops, the employees personal phones and some petty cash.
As the suspects exited the centre, they were met at the entrance by SAPS Mount Road members. The suspects fired shots towards police while attempting to get away. One suspect was arrested and a 9mm pistol was recovered.
Operational members from all over the cluster (Kabega Park, Walmer, Gelvandale, TRT, PE Flying Squad, PE K9 Unit and the Mount Road OCC) immediately responded. The suspects abandoned their vehicle in Burt Drive where they alighted from their vehicle and fled in different directions on foot. Members attached to Port Elizabeth #FlyingSquad arrested the driver as he ran up Burt Drive.
A total of five suspects and four firearms was recovered in Van Der Vyfer, Nugget, Middleton and CJ Langenhoven Roads following swift police action and joint efforts by the abovementioned teams. One suspect sustained a gunshot wound to his wrist. Police suspect that the suspect may have been shot by his accomplices when they exited the mall.
The suspects aged between 25 and 35 will appear in court on Friday, 3 August 2018 on charges of business robbery, attempted murder, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition among other charges. The stolen cellphones and a signal jamming device was found in the suspects’ vehicle, the Toyota Etios. The vehicle has been confiscated by police for forensic analysis.
Mount Road Cluster Commander, Major General Patekile who visited all the crime scenes (5) added that excellent communication between the various stations and units is crucial in the speedy response and apprehension of suspects. These arrests shows that the responsibility of the SAPS in ensuring the safety and security of our citizens in South Africa is a priority. We will not be sharing any space with criminals and they must be removed from society so that the people of Port Elizabeth can move freely without any fear. We will continue to stamp the authority of the State in our efforts to prevent, combat and investigate crime . Despite being shot at, our members were relentless and ensured that these suspects were apprehended,’ added Major General Patekile.