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13 March 2012 at 17:10 - Posted by Anonymous

Dramatic cop shoot-out in Durban


Paramedics attend to an alleged robber after a dramatic shoot-out in Durban. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo

Three alleged robbers – one believed to be the mystery masked man caught on CCTV during several robberies in Durban – were caught after a dramatic shoot-out with police on Monday.

A businessman on his way from Overport to make a deposit of R100 000 at a bank in the city spotted the suspects following him and he phoned a friend, a policeman.

The policeman, who was off-duty at the time, called the SAPS radio control centre on 10111.

Radio control staff picked up images of the suspects’ vehicles on closed circuit television footage and sent them to officers and directed them to intercept them.

The chase ended when the men turned into a dead-end at the Stables Lifestyle Market and crashed their stolen SUV into a horse stable – right on the doorstep of the Durban Metro Police’s Mounted Unit.

The three suspects have been linked to more than 10 armed robberies, including targeting people withdrawing large amounts of cash.

The alleged robbers who were dressed in workers’ overalls were apparently about to stage a robbery when the police nabbed them.

They have been linked to a string of robberies in recent weeks where business people have been robbed after withdrawing large amounts of cash from banks, as was reported in the Daily News on Monday.

The morning of high-drama started soon after 10am on Monday when police received a call from the businessman who said he was being followed by an SUV while on his way to the bank.

Members of the Durban Flying Squad, Durban Central K9 Unit and Crime prevention swung into action and began searching for the SUV. Officers caught up with the vehicle driving along Umgeni Road and tried to pull it over.

The driver of the SUV sped off and police gave chase darting between traffic along Umgeni Road, Sandile Thusi (Argyle) Street and Masabalala Yengwa (NMR )Avenue.

According to police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, the suspects shot at police and the police returned fire.

The driver of the stolen vehicle drove into a private road leading to the Durban Metro Police’s mounted unit and the back entrance of the Stables Lifestyle Market.

“I was opening the gate when I saw these cars screeching past,” said Marc Harford, the owner of the lifestyle market.

“The next thing I heard all these gunshots.

“There must have been at least 10 shots, it was like a war zone,” he said.

Harford said he heard an almighty crash before the gunfire subsided.


“Within minutes this place was swarming with police.

“It seemed like the whole of Durban’s police force was here,” Harford said.

According to witnesses, police fired several shots at the fleeing SUV and were assisted by metro police when the gang crashed into a stable.

Zing Zong, a worker at the Stables Lifestyle Market, said he watched in horror as the drama unfolded before his eyes.

“The cars came down this road at such a speed. The police were right behind them, just shooting.

“When I saw this I just ran away,” he said.

Two of the alleged robbers were injured during the shoot-out and were treated for their wounds beside the bullet riddled SUV. A third man who was wearing a blue overall managed to flee the wreckage, but was arrested in the vicinity of the stables by members of the K9 unit who tracked his scent.

He was cuffed and placed in a K9 unit squad car.

“I am a security guard who was drunk on duty,” he told the Daily News from inside the police car.

“When I saw the police I just ran. I don’t know why they arrested me.”

In spite of an intensive search using sniffer dogs and ground units, police said that two of the suspects managed to escape.

Zwane said police recovered three Norinco pistols from the suspects’ car and additional number plates with NW registration.

“Police also recovered a white Golf 6 belonging to the suspects that was parked at a different location.

“The suspects’ vehicle, a Mahindra SUV, was impounded pending a police inquiry into the authenticity of its chassis number.

“The confiscated firearms will be sent to ballistics to ascertain whether they have been used in the commission of any other crime,” Zwane said on Monday.

Sources on Tuesday said that the SUV had been positively linked to a cash in transit heist in the province in 2002.

The suspects will be charged for attempted murder and possession of unlicensed firearms.

“The suspects are also linked to other armed robberies that recently occurred in Greenwood Park and Durban Central areas. They will appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court soon,” Zwane said.

The injured suspects were taken to hospital where they are under police guard. – Additional reporting: Yogas Nair

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