POLOKWANE, July 23 – Continuous established crime fighting strategies are yielding positive results in the battle to eradicate crime hotspots in Limpopo, particularly in dealing with crime affecting the business community and the mushrooming problem of illegal firearms in most policing clusters in the province, Limpopo police said on Sunday.
In Lephalale, a recent sting joint operation by various police units was conducted in Marapong and Onverwact following the theft of R800,000 at a shop in the Lephalale CBD, Lt-Col Moatshe Ngoepe said.
During this operation, three suspects aged between 26 and 41 – all employees of the shop concerned – were arrested. During the arrests, R250,000 of the stolen money and 11 cellphones were recovered. The suspects would appear in the Lephalale Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of theft, Ngoepe said.
In Tubatse near Burgersfort, two suspects aged 26 and 35 were arrested for possession of unlicenced firearms and ammunition.
“It is alleged that when the operation was unfolding around Bothashoek village, a suspicious car was spotted with three occupants inside which ultimately made a fast U-turn and a motor vehicle chase ensued until the police managed to pull it [the car] off the road and searched all the occupants and the vehicle,” Ngoepe said.
Various firearms were recovered, including a rifle, a shotgun, a pistol and one magazine with ammunition, and Winchester rifle and shotgun ammunition. A total of R3200 in counterfeit R100 notes and R4800 in counterfeit R200 notes, as well as three cell phones were also recovered.
Suspected stolen property recovered included a passport, a wallet, a bunch of keys, a knife, a key holder, an Identity document, a medal, a bracelet, R30 in cash, five “stones of gold”, and a Nissan Sentra, Ngoepe said.
In the Marble Hall, Lebowakgomo, and Maake policing areas, three suspects aged between 24 and 32 were arrested and four firearms, including two hunting rifles, were recovered. The arrested suspects would appear in the Tubatse, Lebowakgomo, and Lenyenye magistrates’ courts on Monday.
Two hunting rifles were found on a farm outside Marble Hall near Groblesdal by security officers on routine patrol, who subsequently called police. No arrest had yet been made in this case.
At this stage, the origin of the rifles was still unknown, but the possibility of them belonging to rhino poachers could not be ruled out. Police investigations were continuing, Ngoepe said.