One arrested after PE cop walks into shop during robbery

The police warrant officer went to the shop to buy a cold drink when he saw two robbers fleeing

The store that was robbed in Swartkops on Tuesday night
The store that was robbed in Swartkops on Tuesday night
Image: Andre Beetge

A wanted robbery suspect was so keen to get back into his getaway car that he pretended to police he had been hijacked – not recalling a police officer had gotten a good look at him at a crime scene less than an hour earlier.

As Warrant Officer Godfrey Lodge arrived at One Way Mini Market in Swartkops to buy something to drink at 7.15pm on Tuesday, two men carrying groceries were walking outside the shop.

But within moments, Lodge, 47, saw the cashier lying on the ground and realised the store had been robbed.

“I was on patrol and because of the heat felt like a cool drink. I stopped at the shop and went inside. As I got to the front entrance there were two guys with groceries in their arms. Nothing looked suspicious at all. I even held the door open for them while they walked towards their Ford Fiesta,” he said.

“As I walked into the shop, I saw the cashier on the ground then realised the shop had just been robbed. I ran back outside and drew my firearm, warning them to stop. At that stage the men had already jumped into the car and sped off.”

Lodge said in an attempt to stop the fleeing robbers, two shots were fired at the car tyres – both hitting the rear right side of the car.

Police spokesperson Captain Andre Beetge said after hearing the gunshots were fired, neighbourhood watch members went to investigate.

“They saw Lodge at the shop and he told them about the robbery. The community members then found the car abandoned in nearby Mariners Row Street in Deal Party about 10 minutes later,” Beetge said.

bullet holes in back of the car
bullet holes in back of the car
Image: Andre Beetge

“The car had two bullet holes in the back but the suspects had fled. All the stolen items were still inside the car and the only thing still missing was the money.”

However Beetge said the 29-year-old owner of the car returned to it by about 8pm. “It appears that he returned and claimed he had been hijacked prior to the robbery.”

Beetge said the man was taken in for questioning and later where it was determined that the owner of the car is believed to have been part of the robbery,” he said. “The suspect was detained after evidence linked him to the robbery and it was determined that he fabricated the hijacking story.

Beetge said that he would not elaborate as it was part of an on-going investigation.In the meantime, the second suspect who is still at large was allegedly involved with the attempted robbery of a 53-year-old woman walking in Strand Street, Swartkops, on Wednesday morning.

“The woman was walking in the street at about 6.30am while going to church. When she was nearly outside the church, a man walked up behind her and pointed a firearm at her.

“In a panic, the woman screamed and someone inside the church came outside. The suspect got a fright and threw the firearm down before running off,” Beetge said.

“It is believed the man involved with this attempted robbery is the suspect from the mini market robbery.”

Beetge said the recovered firearm was recovered on the scene was reported stolen in Centenary in Gauteng in December.

“The man escaped and police are still looking for him,” he said.

The Citi Golf has since been impounded and various tests are being done to assist with identifying the other culprit.

The vehicle owner is due to appear in the New Brighton Magistrate’s Court on Thursday for armed robbery.