Retail franchise outlets in Volksrust are being targeted by armed robbers, seeing security companies, community members, and the SAPS join forces in eradicating the concerning issues.
Delving into the subject, Mornè Potgieter of Ithemba Security explains that armed robberies are rapidly getting out of hand, with the issue not only plaguing the Volksrust area but Newcastle as well.
However, through immense investigations into the issue and the syndicates involved, a strategy was put together in which the SAPS, Ithemba Security, Intelligent Outcomes, Businesses Against Crime and ACSU Security united to fight the scourge. This resulted in the problem being pushed out of Newcastle.
Now the teams are working together in the Volksrust area, with the assistance of local farmers. Looking at recent successes in the Volksrust area, Potgieter points out; several suspects have been arrested since April.
On 10 April 2021, suspects hit an Exact in Volksrust at 1.17 pm. This saw the necessary stakeholders activate their plans, cornering the suspects off an hour later. This resulted in six men being arrested with two firearms and the stolen goods, including cellphones, cash and clothing.
While the six men now face the consequences of their actions, the team responsible for clamping down on armed robberies faced a hair-raising incident on Monday, 3 May 2021.
Potgieter explains, “Seven suspects robbed a Markhams in Volksrust, and a shot was fired in the store. Fortunately, no one was injured. We worked on the information, and the tactical teams were dispatched.”
The suspect’s vehicle was then seen travelling towards Ermelo, and the teams responded immediately. However, when the suspects realised what was going on, they immediately opened fire on the operational team.
This saw the team retaliate and return fire, resulting in two suspects being fatally wounded, a third being critically injured, and another being taken into police custody. The vehicle used in the operation and approximately R300 000 in stolen goods were also recovered.
Another armed robbery followed this incident on Thursday, 6 May 2021, where two groups of suspects travelling in two separate cars targeted another retailer in Volksrust. Upon the operational teams following up on information and locating the two vehicles, the suspects opened fire and managed to elude the law enforcement agencies.
Potgieter explains that one of the vehicles was found not long afterwards, and seven of the suspects were taken into custody, with the team recovering both the vehicle used in the crime and stolen goods.
With further police investigations underway, Potgieter explains, one of the contributing factors to the increase in armed robberies is the high demand for stolen goods. With this in mind, he stresses, “We are urging those involved in the robberies to stop. Lives are being lost. Also, we cannot allow lawlessness in our country, and we can’t allow them to continue; they will face the consequences of their actions.”
While issuing a stern warning to suspects, he also urges the community to step forward if they have any information that could lead to the arrest of those involved in armed robberies. This will assist in minimising businesses losing millions in Rands and ensuring community safety.
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