File picture: Independent Media

Polokwane - A suspected armed robber has been killed by community members and three others have been arrested following an armed robbery at a liquor outlet in Apel, Limpopo police said on Sunday.

Four men armed with pistols entered the Ga-Mpusheng Bar Lounge in the early hours of Saturday morning. They threatened the owners at gunpoint and robbed them of cash, two pistols, and a pump-action shotgun, Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said.

"The nearby community members were sensitised and managed to grab one of the suspects at the back of the bar lounge and burnt him beyond recognition. The suspect was later identified and is from Ga Mashabela in Masemola policing area," Mojapelo said. 

Soon after the robbery was reported to police, a crime intelligence-led operation comprising of members of the national intervention unit followed up information that resulted in the arrest on Sunday morning of the remaining three suspects, in Soshanguve in Gauteng.

Two of the arrested suspects were from Mamelodi and one from Soshanguve. They were aged 32, 34, and 36 respectively. Items seized during the arrests included a Taurus firearm and ammunition and two Norinco firearms and ammunition, all with the serial numbers filled off. Also seized were a VW Polo, reported stolen in Ekangala in Mounalanga earlier this month, and R14 000 in cash, believed to have been stolen during the robbery at Apel, Mojapelo said.

Limpopo police commissioner Lt-Gen Nneke Ledwaba commended the police team for the swift arrests and sending a clear message that police would at all times "be relentless when dealing with criminals".

"The message that we are sending is that our members are at a ready position to pounce on anyone committing trio crimes and any other crime in the province. I, however, have to warn community members to desist from taking the law into their own hands, as this is also a criminal conduct," Ledwaba said.

The arrested suspects would appear in the Lebowakgomo Magistrate's Court soon on charges of armed robbery, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and possession of illegal firearms and ammunition. The police investigations were continuing with regard to the stolen firearms, Mojapelo said.

African News Agency