Police recovered unlicenced firearms and ammunition and confiscated a car in Midrand when they arrested three suspected armed robbers believed to be behind a spate of robberies in Gauteng. Picture: SAPS

Johannesburg - South African Police Service (SAPS) officers recovered unlicenced firearms and ammunition in Midrand, north of Johannesburg, when they arrested three suspected armed robbers believed to be behind a spate of robberies in Gauteng, the SAPS said.

Gauteng SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said officers had received information of a planned robbery where unsuspecting victims would be followed from a bank at the vast Mall of Africa in Midrand.

"Members [police officers] spotted the vehicle driving out of Mall of Africa and gave chase [on Friday evening]. A shoot-out ensued between the suspects and the members; and the suspects' vehicle ultimately crashed into a wall in Rabie Ridge where police cornered and arrested three suspects," said Peters.

"Police recovered unlicenced firearms and ammunition, and also seized the BMW 3-series being utilised during the commission of a crime. Preliminary investigations have already indicated possible linkage of the suspects and their vehicle to two armed robbery cases - one in Alberton and one in Boksburg."

She said further investigations would be conducted to establish whether the suspects, the car, or the firearms could be linked to previous violent crime.

Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela commended the collaboration between various law enforcement agencies in foiling the potentially violent robbery.

"Well done to all members who were involved in this successful operation from the SAPS, DPCI [Hawks], Gauteng provincial trraffic, Johannesburg Metro Police Department, as well as our other partners in the fight against crime, including Tracker and the Waterfall Neighbourhood Watch," said Mawela.

"This goes to show that indeed, the collaboration and sharing of resources is a winning recipe if we are serious about bringing the volumes of serious and violent crimes to reduced levels," he said.

African News Agency/ANA