Robbery suspects target funeral parlours in Mpumalanga
Nespruit - South African Police Service (SAPS) officers in Mpumalanga have launched a manhunt for business robbery suspects targetting funeral parlours in the Nelspruit and surrounding areas, the SAPS in Mpumalanga said.
"In all of these parlours money was taken with the [most] recent robbery taking place on Friday, 3 July 2020, at Kabokweni," Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said in a statement.
Information revealed that on June 30, the first funeral parlour was robbed in the Nelspruit CBD by two armed suspects. The preliminary investigation suggested that the suspects pounced on an administration clerk who was alone and busy with her normal duties, he said.
After entering the premises, the robbers demanded money at gunpoint and, after taking the money, they bound her hands with cable ties before fleeing the scene. The victim was eventually freed by security guards patrolling the business centre and police were immediately notified.
The second incident also took place in Nelspruit on June 30 where, again, two armed suspects entered the premises and found an administration clerk helping two clients. They threatened her and the clients with firearms and then took money belonging to the business as well as from one of the clients.
Before fleeing the scene, the suspects locked the victims in a room at the back of the premises. The victims managed to free themselves and police were summoned to the scene, Hlathi said.
Another funeral parlour was robbed at Kabokweni on Friday July 3, where employees who were on duty were accosted by two men who entered the business under false pretences, claiming they wanted to sign up for funeral policies.
"While the administration staff members were busy explaining to the men about various policy options, suddenly these men drew firearms and pointed [them at] the employees. The suspects locked those employees in the storeroom, took money, then absconded the scene," he said.
The "crime threat analysis suggests that these criminals are starting to target funeral parlours, judging at the three accounts which all took place within a week", and it raised serious concern.
Mpumalanga police commissioner Lt-Gen Mondli Zuma had since requested funeral parlour owners to strengthen their security measures when banking or collecting money from clients. He had also urged the community to assist police in identifying these "unscrupulous criminals", Hlathi said.
Anyone with information that may lead to the arrest of the suspects was urged to contact Detective Colonel Lisa Sambo on 082-462-2748, or the Crime Stop number at 086-00-10111. A tip-off could also be forwarded via the MYSAPSAPP which could be easy downloaded to any smartphone, he said.
African News Agency/ANA