Police sergeant among 10 suspects arrested for ATM bombings

Picture: iStock

Police say explosives believed to be used in the ATM bombing at a mall were among the items seized.

A police sergeant is among seven more suspects arrested for ATM bombings in Limpopo, bringing the total number of arrests to 10.

Police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said Limpopo police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nneke Ledwaba welcomed the arrests.

The arrests follow an ATM bombing in the early hours of Wednesday morning at Mahlakung mall in Ga-Sekororo outside Tzaneen.

Ngoepe said following the arrests of the seven suspects, including a 41-year-old police detective sergeant, the total number of those arrested in connection with the ATM bombing now stands at 10.

Ngoepe said the suspects allegedly entered the mall, accosted a security officer and blasted two ATMs and drop safes.

“They then proceeded to a cellphone store and blasted open another drop safe. An undisclosed amount of cash was taken,” Ngoepe said.

“The police provincial tracking team joined by other operational teams including the Polokwane Airwing, Limpopo Highway Patrol Team and the Provincial Investigating Unit, supported by the private security of Willkie K9 Unit, Hoedspruit, Ofcolaco Farm Watch, Letaba Security and CPF, started tracing the suspects.

“Three suspects, two of whom are women, were arrested at a house in Worcester village a few kilometres from the crime scene. During the arrests, police confiscated explosives believed to have been used during the bombings, two getaway motor vehicles, a Mercedez-Benz and Toyota Avanza, balaclavas and gloves.

“The operation continued and in the process members received a tip-off from members of the community about the other suspects driving in a Toyota Hilux along the R36 road towards the Burgersfort area. Subsequently, seven suspects, including the driver of the vehicle, a police officer, were arrested after a car chase with the police.

“Two firearms, ammunition, clothes that were used during the bombings, cash believed to be part of the money stolen in the ATM bombings and the Toyota Hilux bakkie were confiscated,” Ngoepe said.

Ledwaba commended police for their swift actions and cautioned corrupt police officers, saying “the net is closing on them” and they would soon be arrested.

Ngoepe said the suspects are expected to appear in the Lenyenye Magistrate’s Court shortly on charges of ATM bombing, contravention of the Explosives Act,  possession of prohibited firearms and ammunition and possession of stolen goods.

Ngoepe said police investigations continue.

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)

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