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Police and a quick-thinking off-duty reservist yesterday arrested three men who allegedly attempted to rob a cash-and-carry store in Retreat, sparking a police chase and a shootout with the suspects.
Four armed men robbed the business of an undisclosed sum of cash, according to police spokesman Andre Traut, who said police got on their trail soon after they fled the scene.
“Shots were also fired at police, but fortunately no one was injured,” he added.
A local resident yesterday told Weekend Argus the robbery had been spotted by a man driving past the store on the corner of Main Road and Second Avenue. The motorist drove off in search of help and alerted Steenberg police, who were in the area monitoring a protest march.
Police gave chase and a shootout ensued.
Residents explained that police managed to arrest two of the men, while a third ran into the yard of a house in Tulip Street, where he was arrested by an alert off-duty reservist, Warrant Officer Christopher Staggie.
The owners of the house where the man was arrested were not at home, and so were unaware of what was happening on their property.
The street was closed by crime scene tape at both ends, and several police officers and vehicles were on the scene.
Residents struggled to get a glimpse of the action, with some hanging over the wall of the neighbouring property trying to see the man who lay handcuffed on the ground.
It is believed that his hand was injured at some point during the robbery and subsequent arrest.
One resident peering over the wall said she had saw police and forensics experts pick up a gun and a cellphone.
A second suspect was kept on the scene in a police vehicle, while a third man was arrested nearby. Some residents reported seeing a white taxi, which had been parked at the end of the road, speeding off, while others said they believed a red Mazda Midge had been the getaway vehicle.
Traut confirmed that a 9mm firearm was recovered and its origin was still being investigated. He said the fourth suspect managed to get away with an undisclosed amount of cash.
“The arrested suspects, aged 26, 27 and 31, are due to make a court appearance in Wynberg on Monday,” Traut added. -Weekend Argus