A gang of armed robbers evaded arrest after rolling one getaway vehicle and abandoning another near Kenton-on-Sea yesterday afternoon.
Police said the chase started at about 9.30am when robbers held a British American Tobacco (BAT) driver hostage in Paterson before hijacking the delivery van.
Police spokeswoman Captain Mali Govender said a joint search had been launched by police from Paterson, Kenton-on-Sea, Port Alfred, Flying Squad, K9 units and the Airwing.
“It is alleged that while a delivery of cigarettes was being made, two suspects got into the shop and pointed a firearm at the driver before forcing him back to the vehicle . . . and locking him at the back,” she said.
“The suspects then drove the vehicle to a location where they offloaded the cigarettes into two other waiting getaway vehicles.
“When police arrived at the van, they spotted a car speeding off. A car chase ensued and the vehicle overturned on a gravel road near Klipfontein. The suspects managed to escape.”
Govender said a 9mm pistol was found at this scene. “Information of the second getaway vehicle, an Isuzu bakkie, was then circulated . . . The bakkie was later spotted travelling towards Port Alfred on the R72.”
An off-duty police officer from Port Alfred K9 unit later spotted the bakkie abandoned in a car park in Port Alfred.
About R125 000 worth of cigarettes were found in a ditch nearby, she said.