A gang of police robbers have struck in Pretoria, stealing thousands of rands during a daring daylight robbery.
The attack saw a Tzaneen police officer, who is believed to be a detective, along with several other men, also believed to be police officers, allegedly attack a Pretoria North petrol station on Tuesday and make off with tens of thousands of rands.
The gang is believed to have used their getaway car, which they stole during a robbery in Ivory Park, to ram open a drop safe.
However, the robbers's luck ran out when two of them, including the Tzaneen detective, were caught after a high-speed chase with members of the Pretoria Flying Squad and Denneboom Railway Police Unit.
Police on patrol in Mamelodi East realised they had found the robbers when the suspects stopped next to a Denneboom Railway Police Unit patrol van to ask for directions after they lost their way in Mamelodi.
It is believed the two men got lost while making their way through the township to Cullinan.
As the suspects drove off following the directions the police had given them, the officers realised that the vehicle the two men were driving was the one reported stolen in Ivory Park earlier in the day.
Chasing after the vehicle, the police officers, along with members of the Flying Squad, forced the car off the road and arrested the occupants.
The Tzaneen policeman was nabbed as he tried to throw away his state-issued service pistol. Searching the car, police recovered two cellphones, which are believed to have been stolen in another robbery in Pretoria over the weekend. Police said that while searching the vehicle they discovered several bullet holes which had been masked by stickers.
"We believe these bullet holes are from an earlier shootout with police and security guards who narrowly missed arresting the gang after another robbery.
"These guys are part of a well-organised gang which uses their knowledge as policemen to carry out crimes such as violent armed robberies," said an officer.
He added that they were investigating whether the policemen supplied police uniforms and equipment such as guns and bullet-proof vests to robbery gangs. Police spokesperson Mirna von Benecke confirmed the arrests and said the men would appear in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court soon.
"Investigations are under way into their alleged involvement in other armed robberies," she said.