South Africa: Police Arrest Suspected Bank-Following Robbers As Safer Festive Season Operations Gain Momentum

press release

Following the provincial launch of Gauteng Safer Festive Season operations a week ago, visibility has already been increased in some areas known to be potential hotspots over the festive season period, such as shopping malls.

On Wednesday, 13 November 2019 around lunch time, police arrested two suspects, disrupting what police believe was a planned bank-following robbery.

Members spotted a suspicious male standing idle next to a bank at Carnival Mall in Brakpan, Ekurhuleni and engaged the man. An immediate investigation led police to a VW Polo in the parking lot. However, the vehicle drove off before police got to it.

The quick-thinking members were able to track the vehicle to the licensing department near Festival Mall in Kempton Park. The vehicle was searched and police arrested the driver after finding two unlicensed firearms with magazines and ammunition.

The two suspects have been charged with possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition; and the vehicle was seized for further investigation. They will make an appearance before Kempton Park Magistrate's Court in due course.

The firearms will be tested for possible linkage to previous crimes.

Management of the police have welcomed the arrest, commending the vigilance of the members who foiled a potential armed robbery or bank-following, both crimes which are prevalent during the festive season. "The recovery of unlicensed firearms to us is commendable as it means that a number of lives are spared," said the Provincial Commissioner of police in Gauteng, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela.

Members of the public are cautioned over the festive season, to avoid carrying large amounts of cash that often makes them prone to robberies.

Police will maintain a presence at strategic places like shopping malls to ensure that shoppers go about their business in a safe environment.

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