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06 July 2011 at 08:42 - Posted by Anonymous

Undercover cops catch robbers


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These two suspects were arrested for allegedly robbing a motorist at knife-point on the corner of Proes and Andries streets. Photo: Sarah Makoe

Gee die tjhelete, gee die phone of ek steek jou vuil (Give me your money, give me your phone or I will stab you).” This was the threat a man made while holding a knife to the throat of a motorist at the corner of Proes and Andries streets, but he and an accomplice were arrested soon afterwards on Tuesday afternoon.

The motorist, Kurt Erasmus, 26, a resident of The Reeds, said he had braced himself, waiting to be stabbed.

He had stopped at the intersection at about 3.45pm in a company vehicle, a Ford Bantam bakkie.

“Before I knew it, a hand holding a short-blade knife was inches away from my throat,” he said.

Erasmus said a man wearing a blue beanie demanded he hand over his BlackBerry and his money.

He told the man he had no money, but handed over his phone.

He then noticed another man moving around his vehicle to the passenger side. The traffic began to move again and Erasmus sped away.

“I thought he was going to stab me. My body went hot and numb.”

Erasmus said he drove two blocks and decided to turn around to look for the men who had just robbed him.

After making a U-turn and returning to the intersection, he spotted the man with the blue beanie.

A man with a green shirt and a walkie-talkie at his waist was handcuffing the man.

Erasmus said he realised the man in the green shirt must be an undercover police officer and so he stopped at the side of the road.

Sergeant Ann Poortman, police spokeswoman for Pretoria Central, confirmed that a knife and a BlackBerry had been found in the possession of one of the men.

Erasmus identified his phone by its screensaver – a picture of him and his fiancée.

Over the past few weeks, residents working or living in the CBD have fallen victim to a gang of robbers operating at several intersections in the city.

The gang’s top spot at the moment seemed to be the intersection of Andries and Proes streets, said Poortman.

Brigadier Joel Phukubye, station commander of Pretoria Central, had organised an undercover operation to arrest the culprits.

The undercover team comprised six detectives under the command of Captain Rudi Mauer.

The detectives were placed at several intersections.

Poortman said one of the detectives had been watching the two suspects for a while.

He witnessed how they approached two other vehicles which they unsuccessfully tried to rob, before targeting Erasmus.

The detective was in constant communication with fellow detectives by police hand radio.

As soon as Erasmus sped off, the men were arrested.

Poortman said the pair would be charged with robbery with a knife or other weapons.

An investigation would be carried out to see if the men could be linked to other incidents in the area.

They are to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

Residents who have been victims of similar crimes at the intersections of Andries, Proes and Bloed streets and the intersection of Struben and Van der Walt streets, and who can identify their attackers, are urged to contact Captain Rudi Mauer at 079 880 1011 or Warrant Officer Elmond Mthethwa at 073 780 8437. Police have urged motorists to keep their windows shut and their doors locked. - Pretoria News

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