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Johanensburg - Dogs were called in on Thursday afternoon when four suspects resisted arrest and ran away from the police in Nellmapius near Mamelodi.
On receiving a tip-off, the Bronkhorstspruit K9 unit let the dogs out when the suspects refused to surrender. One got away but three other male suspects, aged between 27 and 36, were nabbed by the dogs and arrested.
They were found in possession of three stolen vehicles and three other vehicles believed to have been used for criminal activity.
Captain Pinky Tsinyane, police spokeswoman, said they didn’t rule out the possibility that the suspects formed part of a vehicle theft syndicate. “We are still investigating the matter,” she said, adding they were confident they would catch the fourth suspect, apparently from Eldorado Park south of Joburg.
One suspect, who claimed he ran away because he was scared of policemen with guns, was bitten by a dog on his arm. His clothes were torn and covered in blood and he was later taken to hospital.
The suspects are believed to have lived on the property where the cars were kept. The owner of the house is said to have died recently.
Three vehicles, a grey Toyota Corolla, a red Toyota Conquest and a grey Volkswagen Polo, were found in the yard and the suspects were in the process of stripping the parts. The Polo’s tyres had been removed and the car was up on bricks.
It is believed they were planning to later sell the parts.
Case numbers exist for all the cars, meaning they were reported stolen by their owners.
“You work so hard to buy a car and you save money for years only to have your car stolen,” said Tsinyane.
Three other cars, a maroon Toyota RunX, a white Volkswagen Polo Vivo and a black Volkswagen Golf, were allegedly used for criminal activity. All six vehicles were taken to a police pound in Pretoria West.
It is believed the criminals removed the vehicles’ number plates after stealing the cars and replaced them with false number plates to avoid detection. The police confiscated the number plates.
“They forge these number plates for a criminal purpose,” Tsinyane said, adding they did not know where the number plates were made.
The suspects will remain in custody at Silverton police station and will appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court soon.
Tsinyane praised the community, who all came out to watch, for co-operating with the police. “We depend on them. When you see anything wrong, you have to report it to the police,” she said.