A lone traffic officer was robbed, then another police officer who came to assist him was also robbed of his service pistol and a police vehicle.
A 36-YEAR-old man was arrested after two traffic officers in Mpumalanga were robbed of property including the keys of a state vehicle, a service pistol, ammunition and a police Ford Focus.
“According to the information, around noon [on Monday] a member of the traffic police was on duty, driving in a state vehicle, a white Nissan NP300 bakkie, along Tekwane South. He then noticed a suspicious silver grey Volkswagen Polo driving from Kanyamazane direction towards Nelspruit,” said Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala.
“The car reportedly overtook the traffic officer on the barrier line. Upon noticing this weird behaviour, the officer activated the siren to stop the said car and the driver of the VW Polo halted.”
Mohlala said that while executing his duties and talking to the driver of the vehicle, passengers in the VW Polo became rude and aggressive towards the lone police officer.
“Reports indicate that one of the passengers suddenly drew a firearm and pointed it at the traffic officer. He snatched the keys of the state vehicle from his hands. Then the suspects drove off and fled with the stolen keys, leaving the officer stranded,” said Mohlala.
“Fortunately, while the officer was trying to get assistance, another vehicle from the traffic [department], a white Ford Focus, emerged to give back-up, whereby a high-speed chase ensued. It is said that the VW Polo then lost control and collided with a maroon Jeep.”
One of the three occupants of the VW Polo sustained injuries.
“The officer who was an occupant of the Ford Focus alighted, but he was robbed of his service firearm, a 9mm pistol with 15 rounds. They also robbed him of the state vehicle he was driving before they fled,” said Mohlala.
The fleeing robbers left behind their injured accomplice in the VW Polo, which had been damaged in the crash.
“The robbed Ford Focus was later found abandoned at Myanga area in Kanyamazane. The remaining suspect was then arrested and was reportedly found in possession of an unlicensed firearm with ammunition and was charged also for possession of suspected stolen vehicle,” said Mohlala.
“Police at Kanyamazane immediately began with their investigation, whereby it was discovered that the recovered VW Polo was in fact reported stolen during a hijacking and rape incident at Mhala.”
In that “dreadful” incident, a man who was with his female companion at Dingledale [Chochocho] was robbed of his silver VW Polo.
“It is said that the suspects also forced him to transfer some cash, and one of the suspects allegedly raped the female victim before they fled,” said Mohlala.
“Police cannot rule out the possibility of adding more charges to the suspect and possibly link him to the hijacking and rape case at Mhala as the investigation continues.”
Meanwhile, the remaining suspects are still at large and are being sought by the police.
“Anyone with information on their whereabouts is urged to contact the Crime Stop number on 08600 10111. Alternatively, a tip-off can be given on My SAPS App. All information will be treated with the strictest confidentiality and callers may opt to remain anonymous,” Mohlala said.