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Pietermaritzburg - Two suspects believed to be part of a larger syndicate targeting goods trucks in Pietermaritzburg have been arrested following two shootouts in the capital’s suburbs on Monday.
Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said members of the Pietermaritzburg K9 unit and SAPS Pietermaritzburg received a report of a theft and robbery in the Sobantu area early on Monday.
When the police arrived in Grix Road in Sobantu, the occupants of a white Volkswagen Polo with NU registration plates shot at the police.
The officers returned fire and the suspects sped off.
“A high-speed chase ensued, but the suspects made good their escape,” said Zwane.
A short while later, other members of the Pietermaritz-burg K9 Unit were patrolling the Cleland area when they noticed a white Isuzu bakkie occupied by three men driving recklessly along CB Downs Road.
Zwane said a second high-speed chase ensued, from CB Downs Road along Murray Road and into Edendale.
In the Dambuza area, in Plessislaer, one of the suspects, who was in the back of the bakkie, opened the canopy door and fired shots at police.
“The members immediately returned fire and a short while later the suspect jumped out of the moving bakkie and fled into nearby bushes,” said Zwane.
The chase continued and in the Dambuza circle in Plessislaer the suspects’ vehicle came to a stop.
One of the suspects got out of the vehicle and fled, but was caught a short while later by a police dog.
The driver of the vehicle, who had been shot several times, was also arrested.
Both suspects were taken to a local hospital for treatment and are under police guard.
Forty-three cases, each containing six, two-litre Oros concentrated juices, were recovered from the back of the bakkie. Bolt cutters and crowbars were found inside the vehicle. The bakkie is believed to have been a hired vehicle.
“Police believe the suspects are part of a larger syndicate that steals goods from trucks operating in Pietermaritzburg and Durban,” said Zwane.
No police members were injured during the incident. However, the police vehicles were damaged during the shootout.
The arrested men, aged in their mid-twenties, will appear in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court soon.
Police are investigating cases of attempted murder and possession of suspected stolen property.
KwaZulu-Natal provincial commissioner, Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, commended the good work done by the police.