Joint bid nabs robbers

Neighbourhood watch helps cops catch Crockarts Hope suspects

A JOINT effort between police, Farm Comm neighbourhood watch and Atlas Security members led to the arrest of three men after a daring robbery at a smallholding in Crockarts Hope near Greenbushes yesterday morning.

The men were caught after they jumped into a taxi in an attempt to evade arrest. Police were searching for two other suspects who were still at large late yesterday.

Atlas Security operations manager Monty Montgomery said five robbers had arrived at manufacturers Aluminium Purpose in Hunter Road shortly after the business opened at 8am.

“The men were dropped off down the road in a silver Colt bakkie and then walked up the road into the workshop where they posed as customers,” Montgomery said.

“The owner and five staff members were inside the workshop at the time.

“The robbers held the owner at gunpoint while ransacking the shop and demanding valuables.

“They forced him to give up the safe combination and stole about R30 000 in cash as well as all the staff members’ cellphones.”

During the robbery, the men threatened to shoot dead anyone who tried to stop them, Montgomery said.

The five men then stole the owner’s VW Amarok bakkie to make their getaway. “The men sped off and the owner managed to push his panic button and also alert everyone on the Farm Comm [radio network].”

Farm Comm chairman Willie Bosch said shortly after the robbery the Colt bakkie used to drop off the robbers was spotted in Cape Road near Mission Road, prompting a car chase.

“Over our radio network, we liaised with the police and security to catch the suspects in the bakkie,” he said.

“The Colt bakkie . . . turned into the Metro Quarries. The police helicopter was called in to assist with the search.”

During the chase, three of the men who had fled in the Amarok bakkie climbed into a taxi in Cape Road in a bid to get away with the money.

“The police received a tip-off that some of the robbers had got into a taxi,” Bosch said.

“Within minutes they pulled the taxi off in Cape Road, where three of the robbers were arrested with the stolen money and some of the cellphones.”

The Colt bakkie was found abandoned at Metro Quarries in Greenbushes and the stolen Amarok was found abandoned on the Kuyga sports fields in Greenbushes.

Police spokesman Warrant Officer Alwin Labans said the three men were caught inside the taxi allegedly with a firearm and some of the stolen property.

“The stolen Amarok and the Colt bakkie were taken for testing by our forensic experts,” he said.