Following the arrest of a major suspect behind the OR Tambo Airport heist on Sunday, a picture of one “suspect” with an apparently new R5 million Lamborghini has been circulating on social media.
It was also reported on by mainstream media outlets.
The picture shows two men posing next to the car in a garage.
Responding to the picture, social media was shocked that a person could apparently get away with a big heist, only to then post pictures of himself with a car he cannot afford, and then stupidly expect not to be caught.
The suspect was arrested at his Blue Valley Estate home in Centurion near Pretoria on Sunday.
However, the picture that has been circulating on social media is not that of the suspect. The man in the picture is Phaladi Makola, one of the detectives who helped catch the suspect.
Responding to the picture that has been circulating on social media, Makola confirmed that it was him in the picture, and he said it was taken in the house of the suspect after he was arrested.
“So everyone thinks I’m OR Tambo thief, haai,” he wrote. It had earlier been reported that police officers may have been involved in the heist, with suspicions that it was an inside job.
He further said he knew who had posted the picture, without identifying them, as they were not supposed to post it.
“Anyway, justice is in action,” he said.
The arrest is believed to have come after police were alerted following suspicions about the purchase of the Lamborghini.
A source close to the police investigation told Business Live that officers recovered a large amount of cash when they raided the suspect’s home. However, Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi could not confirm or deny the arrests.
On Tuesday evening, national police head Lieutenant-General Johannes Phahlane announced that four people, including a police officer, had been arrested in connection with the heist.
Of the four suspects, Phahlane said two appeared in court on Tuesday.
“Within a week of investigations and interviewing of people of interest in this case, we can confirm that four people have been taken in for questioning. Two have appeared in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s court today [Tuesday] in connection with the heist,” Phahlane told reporters at a briefing in Pretoria.
“Two people are currently being questioned. It is regrettable that one of our own members is among the two [who haven’t appeared in court]. This confirms our version of not ruling out the possibility of collusion or an inside job.”
Phahlane said police officers are not escaping scrutiny as the net closes in on the armed robbers who got away with an undisclosed amount of cash — reported to be around R24 million — from the national key point.