Arrest of suspected Bay coin shop thief

Gareth Wilson

ONE of the five suspected armed robbers involved in the coin shop heist inside the Walmer Park shopping centre last week was arrested yesterday afternoon. The 30-year-old man, from Walmer township, was apprehended after police received a tip-off and description of his car.

Police spokeswoman Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said the black Citi Golf driven by the suspected robber was spotted turning into Fountain Road, Walmer, shortly after 3pm.

“The police vehicle passed the car as it was turning into Walmer township. The officers made a quick turn before giving chase,” she said.

“The driver in the Golf refused to pull off the road and eventually mounted a pavement in Fountain Road before jumping out and running away.”

The suspect, who cannot be named until he appears in court, fled into one of the side streets off Fountain Avenue. “Members from the Flying Squad unit chased after the man who hid behind one of the houses in the street,” Janse van Rensburg said. “In a panic he threw a small bag containing valuable Krugerrands on the ground before surrendering.”

Janse van Rensburg said the coins were believed to be those stolen during the robbery at The Scoin Shop in Walmer Park shopping centre last week.

“The value of the recovered coins is about R160000. However, we still need to investigate to establish if this man was involved in the actual robbery,” Janse van Rensburg said.

The coins were stolen after three men casually walked into the shop shortly after opening time. One of the men pulled out a firearm and held the staff at gunpoint. The robbers forced staff to open the safe before stealing coins worth thousands.

Two men waited in a getaway car at one of the entrances. The vehicle was later found abandoned in Sparrow Road, Greenshields Park.

Janse van Rensuburg said detectives would continue to track the remaining suspects involved with the heist. “We are charging him for possession of stolen property and based on the investigation we could later add a charge of armed robbery.”

The suspect is due to appear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court tomorrow.

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