Hawks take over investigation into fake bomb at Tshwane mall

Menlyn Maine shopping centre in Tshwane was evacuated on Tuesday due to a bomb scare that turned out to be a hoax.
Menlyn Maine shopping centre in Tshwane was evacuated on Tuesday due to a bomb scare that turned out to be a hoax.
Image: Twitter/@DilonaNaicker

The Hawks will investigate the case of a man who threatened to blow up a bank at Menlyn Maine shopping centre, in the east of Tshwane, with what police later discovered was a fake bomb.

Police spokesperson Capt Colette Weilbach earlier told TimesLIVE that the man, in his 50s, entered the branch at about 11.15am on Tuesday.

"He handed a note over to the bank teller who served him. The note said there was a bomb planted inside the bank. The security immediately reacted and evacuated the whole shopping centre. The SAPS responded and arrested the man inside the bank," she said.

Weilbach said that while the man was waiting at the bank, the teller pressed a panic button and centre management responded.

"The security manager directed people out of the bank while the suspect was there. The suspect then asked to speak to the security manager, unaware that he was talking to him," she said.

According to Weilbach, while the man waited for the security manager to arrive, two police officers who were in the vicinity arrived and arrested him.

She said the man was found with a device that was sprinkled with gunpowder to make it look more realistic. "The K9 unit dog responded positively to the device, but it was later established that it was a fake bomb and it was sprinkled with gunpowder," she said.

A licensed firearm was confiscated.

The shopping centre was later declared safe.

"The man will appear in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court soon. The matter has now been taken over by the Hawks for further investigation," added Weilbach.

The man is set to be charged with contravening the Explosives Act. He also faces a charge of attempted bank robbery.


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