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Cape Town -

Robbery syndicate members who pretended to be sick to hold up surgeries across Cape Town, went on a crime spree lasting nearly a decade, papers before the Western Cape High Court show.

The State alleges that

Mbulelo Mark Mgujulwa, 35, and Thabiso Steven Lebitsa, 33, terrorised patients at doctors’ surgeries across the city for about nine years before the law caught up with them. The men, from Gugulethu, appeared briefly in the Western Cape High Court on Monday.

It is the State’s case that the men operated within a syndicate that committed robberies and stole jewellery, laptops, cellphones and cash.

They mainly targeted doctors’ surgeries, but had also robbed shops and a cleaning company, all in Gugulethu, Wynberg, Claremont, Newlands, Rondebosch, Diep River, Kuils River and Bellville between 2001 and 2010.

The State alleges that the robberies were carefully planned and executed.

The modus operandi involved looking around a targeted business before arriving on foot to rob the business, staff, patients and customers. Sometimes they tied people up.

They would then force staff, patients and customers to hand over car keys. All the stolen vehicles were found abandoned.

“They were armed and extremely dangerous. One member accompanied by another would pretend that they required medical assistance or in the case of the cleaning agency, employment.

“While the ‘sick’ member waited in the reception area, the other one would ask to use the toilet. The only inference is that the intention was to evaluate the amount of people on the premises and possible threats to their plans,” the State’s summary reads.

The prosecution plans to prove that the men were “callous” and threatened victims at gunpoint and tied them up.

When police searched Mgujulwa’s house they found an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. Cellphone records, fingerprints and identity parades have linked the men to the crimes.

The men have been charged with 20 counts including racketeering, aggravated robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

The men are expected to go on trial on May 5.

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Cape Argus