Rustenburg - Twelve armed men were arrested following a foiled robbery and a shootout in Benoni east of Johannesburg, Gauteng police said on Sunday.
Spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mavela Masondo said police were alerted about a business robbery in progress at a transport company on Saturday.
“Members from Highway Patrol, Johannesburg Flying Squad and K9 Unit proceeded to the scene where they were met with gunshots from about 12 armed men. Police responded and a shootout ensued. Twelve suspects were arrested and five unlicensed firearms recovered,” he said.
“Preliminary investigation suggests that about 14 armed men arrived in a sedan and three trucks (horses) where they held the security guards at gunpoint. The suspects then hooked up trailers that were loaded with copper. Police and private security guards arrived and intercepted the gang while still at the promises, resulting in a shootout and the arrest of suspects.”
He said the arrest occurred just two days after another armed gang was arrested in Sebokeng and firearms recovered.
In Sebokeng, police foiled an armed robbery and arrested four suspects who were found with two pistols and a rifle on Thursday, he said.
“The police crime intelligence team received information about a business robbery that was to be committed at a liquor store in Sebokeng Zone 14 on Thursday. A team consisting of the Crime Intelligence Unit, Sedibeng Task Team, Sedibeng Tactical Response Team, Sedibeng K9 Unit and Sedibeng Flying Squad kept a close observation, monitoring the suspects.
“At about 5.15pm, the suspects’ vehicle, matching the description circulated, was spotted near the liquor store. It is reported that about seven armed gang entered the liquor store. As police were approaching, suspects started shooting randomly towards them and a shootout ensued."
Four men were arrested and three firearms were recovered.
“Preliminary investigations revealed that the vehicle driven by the suspects, a red VW Polo, was stolen in Vereeniging last year.”
Masondo said the suspects would be profiled and the confiscated firearms subjected to ballistic tests to establish linkages to other crimes.