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Another suspect arrested for allegedly robbing hitch-hikers

Police on the crime scene outside Macassar Centre where a cash- In- transit heist took place.

A man was arrested for robbing hitch-hikers from Orkney in North West.Photograph :Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 14, 2022


THE net is closing in on robbers targeting hitch-hikers following the arrest of a 25-year-old man at the weekend.

Free State police spokesperson Captain Malebo Khosana said the 25-year-old was arrested on Saturday, following a high speed chase with the police in Vierfontein.

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He said the man and two others who were still at large, allegedly robbed two hitch-hikers near Vaal Bridge in Vierfontein.

"The two victims hitch-hiked in Roadhouse, Orkney, when they were offered a lift by a motorist with two other passengers.

“The two victims were threatened with a firearm and robbed of their belongings before they jumped from the moving vehicle.

“The two men managed to flag down a police vehicle. Police members gave chase and arrested the driver. The two other suspects managed to evade arrest."

The arrest came days after a multidisciplinary team, set up to investigate kidnappings in the North West province where hitch-hikers were also the main target, arrested three foreign nationals in what appears to be a syndicate. The ring is believed to be behind at least 12 cases in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District.

According to national police spokesperson, Colonel Athlenda Mathe, the syndicate which has mostly been operating in Potchefstroom, Klerksdorp, Orkney and surrounding areas have been targeting members of the public who were hitch-hiking in these areas with their main target being mineworkers.

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"The syndicate would lure unsuspecting victims from hitch-hiking spots under the pretence of transporting them to their various destinations.

“The victims would then be robbed off their personal belongings, followed by ransom payment demands made by their families for their safe return."

She said that two men were arrested on Friday night along the R502 road linking Potchefstroom and Orkney.

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"Two foreign nationals, aged 24 and 37 years of age, were found travelling in a motor vehicle matching the description of a vehicle wanted in a case where a post office employee was kidnapped last Wednesday.

"During a search of the vehicle, police discovered several items belonging to a second victim who had been reported as kidnapped on Thursday. In this matter, a ransom demand was also issued to the family of the victim. The team immediately dispatched a search party to rescue the victim who was found at a stadium in Orkney."

During further investigation at identified addresses, police arrested another 57-year-old foreign national.

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"At this address, police seized two other vehicles believed to have been utilised in the commission of other kidnapping cases as well as 16 cellphones believed to be belonging to victims in these cases."

Police have positively linked the three men to the kidnapping of the post office employee who was released after the ransom was paid and at least 12 other kidnapping cases where victims were robbed off their personal belongings and ransom demands were made for their safe return.

"The possibility of effecting more arrests and linking these suspects to more cases cannot be ruled out," she said. | IOL

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