Surprise bail for suspects

Gareth Wilson

TWO suspected members of Port Elizabeth’s notorious A-Team were released on bail yesterday after the commander in charge of detectives investigating the matter advised the prosecutor to oppose bail.

However, the prosecutor – whose name could not be established yesterday – did not oppose bail according to police and the two were released on R200 bail each.

Luvuyo Jonas, 27, and Mapule Motolele, 30 – the names given to police – were arrested on Monday morning after allegedly being involvedin a brazen snatch-and-grab at a Richmond Hill gift shop. Fox and Heroine owner Lee- Anne van den Berg, 32, said the two – and two accomplices who managed to escape – had tried to steal her cellphone after distracting her.

It is believed they were part of the A-Team, suspected of being behind a spate of thefts at churches, funerals, coffee shops and restaurants.

Police officers close to the case said they had asked that the state oppose bail as it was not immediately clear whether the suspects had provided their real names and other details.

They said there were no records on the police system for Motolele, who was allegedly arrested last year. “We are awaiting fingerprint results to determine if these are their real identities.”

Police spokesman Captain Stanley Jarvis said the police docket indicated the two would have to apply for a formal bail application, which would give police up to seven days to investigate before the hearing.

He said police would ask the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) why they had not followed the formal bail application as advised by police. NPA spokesman Tsepo Ndwalaza was unable to comment last night without the facts.

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