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2021/08/02      |  Written By:  Brigadier L Hlathi   |   Province:  Mpumalanga

NELSPRUIT: 29 July 2021- Three members of a blue light gang aged between 30 and 32, are due to appear before the Balfour Magistrate's Court tomorrow, Friday 30 July 2021, after they were arrested for impersonating police officers as well as being in possession of blue lights resembling that of police. The trio were nabbed yesterday, Wednesday, 28 July 2021, at Grootvlei during an Intelligence Driven Operation conducted by visible policing members from Balfour, Grootvlei and Greylingstad police stations. 

Police in Mpumalanga are concerned about the spate of robberies which were reported where victims were either robbed or hijacked on the Grootvlei N3 as well as Delmas N12 National Roads by suspects posing as law enforcement officers and their vehicles equipped with blue lights. On numerous occasions, the office of the Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga has issued warnings to motorists to be vigilant concerning this modus operandi where some victims were unfortunately hijacked and others robbed of their belongings. Recently, another victim was shot and killed by people who wanted to hijack his vehicle who were posing as police officers on the R50 road between Delmas and Bronkhorspruit. 

This prompted police to orchestrate an operation to defuse these criminal gangs by activating all policing formations hence an operation was conducted in which the three stations collectively joined their resources together with a view to combat this criminal act. 

Whilst patrolling on the N3 near Grootvlei, police spotted a suspicious white Toyota Legend 45 Double Cab bakkie with three male occupants matching the description of the one they were looking for and stopped it. A search began and police retrieved a blue light as well as a siren hidden in the vehicle. The occupants could not provide a proper explanation for being in possession of the equipment and while police continued searching, they also landed their hands on a toygun as well as some medication and other items that are suspected to have been stolen. 

The three were then arrested and charged accordingly and their vehicle was also confiscated as well for further investigation. Apart from impersonating police officers, the suspects will face additional charges of possession of suspected stolen property as well as a firearm. Police cannot rule out any possibility of linking the suspects to other crimes committed elsewhere in the province. 

The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Manamela has welcomed the arrests made. " We are encouraged by this breakthrough after cases of robberies and hijacking involving suspects driving vehicles fitted with blue lights were previously reported in the province. We hope that other cases will be resolved as well as a result of this arrest. The relentless efforts by members is really commended as it led to this success, " concluded General Manamela.