They do this brazen shit because they can. Just like the attacks on the N1/R21 motorway. We have an ineffectual police playing catch-up and the criminals know it. Not happy with one crime a day, we migrate to a few a day. Worried yet? Bring on WC2010.
A six-hour Pretoria robbery rampage in which several homeowners were attacked and two security guards seriously injured was brought to a bloody end when police gunned down a robber, critically injured another and arrested three others.
The five-man gang, believed to be behind the murder of Pretoria pensioner, Frans Swemmer, 89, who was beaten to death in his Waterkloof home last week, began their terror rampage during the early hours of yesterday.
|'As police chased after the suspects, the men opened fire'|
Armed with an assortment of handguns they attacked two guards outside Highlands Liquor Store in Centurion at 5.20am, pistol whipping them before tying them up and looting the store.
The suspects, who are believed to use security complexes in Centurion as bases, are thought to have offloaded their loot at their hideouts before driving to Monument Park where they ran riot, attacking two homeowners.
In one of the attacks several gunmen, who of whom also wielded a sledgehammer, threatened an elderly woman when they robbed her at her Edelvalk Street home. The woman, who police declined to name, was tied up but not injured.
In the second Monument Park attack the robbers, who had split up into two groups, held up a domestic worker and stole household items, including a laptop computer and jewellery.
While one group of robbers attacked the domestic worker, the others burgled a Luciana Street house. While they were burgling the house, a neighbour spotted two of the suspects and alerted police.
But, by the time police arrived the men had already fled.
Moments after arriving at the Luciana Street house, police received a call from a motorist who spotted five men cocking their guns while driving a silver Toyota Corolla towards Centurion on the N1.
The vehicle fitted the description of the car used in the robberies in Monument Park.
The robbers, who managed to elude police for several hours, then attacked a family in Akkerboom Street, Zwartkops, before driving off to Highveld Park. Here two of the men were spotted by detectives from the Lyttelton police station task team as they lifted a security gate off its hinges at a house in Lambert Street.
The two got into the car and with their accomplices raced off along John Vorster Drive towards Centurion Mall shooting at police who were chasing them. As they raced off the men threw their guns and some of the loot out of the car.
Police returned fire, killing one of the suspects and critically injuring the driver.
This ended the drama.
According to police, several passing motorists saw men in a white VW Golf stop and pick up the firearms and stolen property thrown from the Corolla.
A car dealer said the shooting was over within seconds. "There were screeching tyres and then lots of gunshots. It was incredible. It was like a movie," he said.
Leon Jonck, whose guards were attacked outside Highlands Liquor Store, said when he heard of the shooting he came to investigate.
"I immediately recognised from CCTV footage at our centre the suspects' car as the one that was used in the attack (at Highlands)," he said. His guards are in a serious condition.
Police, who said a toy gun was found beneath one of the car seats, confirmed they were investigating a possible link between the robbers and the murder of Swemmer who was killed in his Orion Street home.
Netcare 911 spokesman Chris Botha said the injured suspect was being treated at Kalafong Hospital for a serious head injury.
Police spokeswoman Aveline Hardaker confirmed that the men had been positively linked to at least two house robberies yesterday.
"Detectives from the task team responded to the robberies and while searching for the suspects in Centurion spotted the men trying to break into a house in Highveld Park.
"As police chased after the suspects, the men opened fire shooting at the police vehicle and forcing the officers to return fire," she said, adding that one gunman was killed, another critically injured and three others arrested.
Hardaker said when police searched the suspects' car they recovered laptops, a camera, jewellery, bank cards and a sledgehammer.
She said detectives were following up information on the suspects' accomplices who collected the firearms and stolen property which had been thrown from their vehicle.
Hardaker said the suspects, believed to be part of a larger gang, would appear in court soon on various charges. - IOL