PE robbers nabbed in joint operation

Ten plasma television screens and three hi-fi systems stolen

Handcuffs. File picture.
Handcuffs. File picture.
Image: Suhaib Salem

Ten plasma television screens were stolen and two people arrested just hours after Lewis Stores in North End was robbed.

A joint operation between Motherwell and Mount Road cluster detectives led to the recovery of six of the 10 stolen televisions. 

The robbery happened shortly after 5pm on Wednesday as staff were closing up the shop and loading stock for delivery.

According to police, two men with firearms ushered two of the delivery personnel back into the store.

Police spokesman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said once the robbers were inside the shop another staff member was accosted.

“All three were forced to lie on the ground while the robbers loaded 10 plasma television screens and three hi-fi systems into a car that was parked out of sight.

"While the robbery was underway, a passerby saw what was happening and managed to take down the registration number of the Toyota Avanza which was being loaded with all the items.”

The men fled minutes later in the car and police were alerted.

At about 8pm the Avanza was spotted travelling near the Kwadwesi police station.

“Police stopped the vehicle and searched it. None of the stolen items were found inside but cords belonging to the television’s and other stolen items were found inside the vehicle,” Naidu said.

“It later materialised that the Avanza was actually used as a taxi and the driver had been in on the robbery.”

During the course of the night members of the Motherwell and Mount Road Operational Command Centres in conjunction with Kwadwesi and Mount Road detectives raided several houses.

“Two houses in New Brighton were raided and five televisions were found. Flats in the Central area were also raided but none of the items were found. Shortly before midnight, they raided another house in New Brighton and the sixth television was found.”

Naidu added that a suspect was arrested in the house where the sixth television was found.

Asked if the televisions had been pre-ordered by criminals prior to the robbery, Naidu said that was unknown but it would be looked into as part of the investigation.

Naidu said attempts to locate the other four missing plasma televisions and three hi-fi systems were still underway.

Both men arrested will appear in the New Brighton Magistrate's Court on Friday for the possession of stolen property.

They will then appear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court on Monday for the armed robbery.

Mount Road Cluster Commander, Major General Thembisile Patekile, said: "It is a fact that criminals are working across cluster and station boundaries and we need to work in close liaison with each others in order to solve serious crimes.

"We also appreciate the information provided by the alert community member. Had it not been for her the results achieved would not have been so swift," he said.