February 9 - A serial armed robber who has been on the run since July 2019 was apprehended by community members while he was again robbing a business in Harding in KwaZulu-Natal and handed over to police. Photo: Supplied

DURBAN - A wanted serial armed robber who has been on the run since July 2019 has been apprehended by community members while he was again robbing a business in Harding in KwaZulu-Natal and handed over to police, the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the province said on Sunday.

An armed man entered a business premises at KwaMbotho in Harding on Friday, Brigadier Jay Naicker said in a statement.

"At gunpoint, he demanded cash and instructed the staff to load cigarettes and tobacco into a plastic bag."

One of the staff members on the premises screamed for help, and members of the community came to their rescue and the suspect was apprehended. Police at Harding were immediately contacted and responded to the scene.

The 29-year-old suspect was found in possession of a homemade revolver with four rounds of ammunition. The stolen property was also recovered from his possession.

Police investigations revealed that the suspect had been on the run after he escaped from lawful custody on July 15, 2019 while being transported to Westville Prison in Durban. It was alleged that he "continued to terrorise the business community at Harding after he had escaped".

A case of escaping from lawful custody was being investigated by Westville SAPS. He had been charged on three counts of business robbery committed in Harding during 2018 when he escaped.

He was also linked to a further three counts of business robbery committed last year and this year at Harding. He was expected to appear in the Harding Magistrates' Court on Monday for being in possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition and robbery, Naicker said.

KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Lt-Gen Khombinkosi Jula praised the community for working together with police in apprehending the wanted suspect. 

"The community at KwaMbotho must be commended for their firm stance in ridding their neighbourhood of criminals elements and for contacting police immediately to ensure that the suspect is incarcerated and placed before a court of law,” he said.

African News Agency (ANA)