Spate of hitchhiking robberies across Mpumalanga, 3 arrested
The three were arrested between late hours of Wednesday, 13 April 2022 and early hours of Thursday, 14 April 2022.
Their arrest emanates from reported incidents where suspects targeted unsuspecting victims who hitchhiked to reach their respective destinations across Mpumalanga Province.
Victims were robbed in a similar modus operandi, where the suspects pretended to offer lifts yet their intention was to rob them. The crimes were committed in Chrissiesmeer, Hartebeeskop, Elukwatini, Mayflower and Badplaas.
In one incident, a man was hitchhiking in Chrissiesmeer near the Brook Farm along the N17 Road on 8 March 2022, at about 12:30, when a white Toyota Yaris, with three occupants emerged and the man was offered a lift. Whilst they were traveling, the driver reportedly took another direction and drove towards Jessivale Plantation where he stopped the vehicle in the nearby bushes.
The three suspects are said to have then held the man at gunpoint and robbed him of his cash as well as his cell phone. It is further said that they ordered him to transfer an undisclosed amount of cash, using his banking App before they fled the scene.
The incident was then reported to the police at Chrissiesmeer and subsequent to the case being opened, an investigation began. Similarly to other cases of the same modus operandi, a manhunt was launched for the suspects. The members from Visible Policing in collaboration with the Detectives at Chrissiesmeer worked tirelessly around the clock resulting in the successful tracing and arrest of the three suspects at various residential premises in Chrissiesmeer.
During their arrest, police discovered some suspected stolen properties in their possession. However the investigation is still underway and police believe that more will be unveiled. The suspects were charged with possession of suspected stolen property. Police cannot rule out the possibility of linking the suspects to the cases of robberies.
The three are expected to appear before the Ermelo Magistrate’s Court on 19 April 2022 facing the said charges.
Meanwhile the Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela believes that the arrest of the three men will somehow assist in resolving some of the robbery cases where suspects are being sought by police. “We extend our appreciation towards our communities for their continued support by providing the information we need. It is clear that we are winning the battle against crime” said the General.