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2023/07/11      |  Written By:  Brigadier S Mohlala   |   Province:  Mpumalanga

Nelspruit: 10 July 2023 - Four suspects were caught by the Police in Piet Retief during the time when they allegedly held victims at gunpoint in a business robbery incident which was staged at a certain supermarket yesterday morning, Sunday 09 July 2023. On the said day, between 09h30 am and 10h00 am the SAPS members from Piet Retief received a complaint of a business robbery in progress at a supermarket along Mark Street in town (Piet Retief).

Piet Retief members from Visible Policing together with their counterparts from Detective Services swiftly responded then proceeded to the crime scene. Upon arrival, that was when they reportedly caught the four suspects in the act. It is further indicated that the armed suspects subjected customers and employees under siege as they held them hostage. The four male suspects aged between 30 and 47 were immediately arrested. During their arrest, the men and women in Blue recovered three unlicenced firearms (pistols) as well as a total number of twenty live ammunition from their possession. Serial numbers for the two seized pistols were filed off. The Police also seized large sums of money from the suspects.

The confiscated firearms will definitely undergo ballistic testing to determine whether they were not used previously in the commission of crime elsewhere.

A case of business robbery is currently under investigation and the preliminary part of the probe has since revealed that three of the arrested suspects are from the KZN Province whilst the forth suspect is from Piet Retief in Mpumalanga and police records shows that he was previously arrested for another business robbery case in Piet Retief which reportedly occurred in 2021. On that case, he was previously granted bail by the court.

The investigation team is also connecting the dots, trying to understand and look at possibilities that the arrested suspects could have been involved in another robbery at a certain tuck shop nearby, which reportedly occurred few minutes earlier.

All four suspects are due to make their first appearance in the Piet Retief Magistrate’s Court tomorrow, Tuesday, 11 July 2023. They are facing charges of business robbery with firearm, possession of unlicenced firearms with ammunition. More charges could possibly be added against the suspects as the investigation continues.

The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has applauded members for their swift response and the zeal they displayed which resulted in the arrest of the suspects as well as the recovery of the three firearms. "We are so elated by this achievement as we are in a massive campaign of getting back all unlicenced and illegal firearms from the wrong hands.

Firearms are costing us innocent lives in our society, therefore a recovery of a single firearm is not taken for granted. In this instance three firearms were seized. We really mean business when it comes to fighting crime and no one can dispute the result as it speaks for itself. There is no turning back from here going forward" said the General.