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Minors arrested for alleged armed robbery in Killarney

Rosebank Killarney Gazette

by Shanice Naidoo

KILLARNEY – Three suspects have been arrested for armed robbery on 6 July.

The three suspects that were arrested in Killarney by Hillbrow police for alleged armed robbery.

Three suspects have been arrested by Hillbrow police for allegedly terrorising the Killarney community over the past few days, said Vision Tactical director Yaseen Theba.

“Over the past few days, we received reports that young children in the Killarney area were being harassed by a group of thugs that were allegedly robbing them of cell phones and money. Some domestics workers and gardeners also confirmed that the suspects were young and not from the area,” explained Theba.

On 6 July a group of young boys ran into the park terrified after their money and phones were taken. The incident took place on 3rd and 2nd Avenue in Killarney.

The spokesperson for Hillbrow Police Station Sergeant Mduduzi Zondo confirmed that the incident had in fact taken place at around 1 pm and that some of the suspects that were arrested are still minors. He also confirmed that a stolen cellphone was recovered and that one suspect allegedly had a knife with him.

The young victims approached the Vision Tactical park safety ambassador and reported that the suspects had threatened to shoot and stab them if they didn’t hand over their phones and cash. The group of young boys were on their way to play in the park when they were approached by the suspects in the vicinity of the park.

Vision Tactical park safety ambassador Eric Minnie, whose quick response resulted in the apprehension of three alleged robbers in the Killarney area.

“The park safety ambassador immediately communicated with other Vision Tactical guards in the area and gave them a description of the suspects. They were spotted running towards the Wilds and the guards chased them,” added Theba.

The guards were backed up by the Tactical team. When members of the Vision Tactical team searched the suspects they allegedly found a knife, cash and the stolen phone.

Zondo said the suspects have not been linked to any cases at this stage, but police are currently investigating claims that the suspects were involved in other robberies.


Providing safe return from airport

The Star Page 5 – 23rd May 2017

THE RISE in crimes committed around OR Tambo International Airport, including people being followed home from the airport and robbed, has spawned an interesting and lucrative business.

Vision Tactical is a security company that began in October 2014, which provides private security to homes and businesses in Houghton, Killarney, Norwood and other suburbs in northern Joburg.

Vision Tactical Owner: Yaseen Theba , speaks about the burgeoning crime of being followed back home from the airport.

Recently, the company expanded its security services to include airport escorts, because according to the company’s owner, Yaseen Theba, clients started becoming nervous about coming back from the airport and asked for vehicles to be stationed on driveways outside their homes for safety purposes.

“Then certain people felt nervous about landing at night or early mornings and asked if we could provide a guard inside the car that was going to pick them up.

“But we prefer using our own vehicles to follow our clients, because in the event something happens, we have our rifles and guns in the car.

“If it’s a family pick-up, we don’t like to have firearms in the vehicle when there are children. We prefer following a vehicle and ensuring that a family get home safely,” Theba explained.

Last Monday, a man was shot dead just outside OR Tambo International Airport’s drop-off area, in what was believed to have been a botched hijacking.

HAPPY ABOUT THE SERVICE: Dharmisha Makan speaks about her experience being followed back home from the airport.  Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips

It was this report that convinced Dharmisha Makan to use the escort service for the first time when she and a friend came back from India last week.

“As two women travelling on our own, we definitely felt safe just to know that we’re being followed by a security company that we are familiar with, as they do the guarding at our complex.

“They followed both of us to our homes and we felt safe. So did our family members, who knew we were going to make it home safe,” Makan enthused, adding that she would “definitely” use the service again.

Theba added that he was aware the police were trying to curb the crime of airport followings by doing stop and searches of cars leaving the airport.

“Then certain people felt nervous about landing at night or early mornings and asked if we could provide a guard inside the car that was going to pick them up.

“But we prefer using our own vehicles to follow our clients, because in the event something happens, we have our rifles and guns in the car.

“If it’s a family pick-up, we don’t like to have firearms in the vehicle when there are children. We prefer following a vehicle and ensuring that a family get home safely,” Theba explained.

Last Monday, a man was shot dead just outside OR Tambo International Airport’s drop-off area, in what was believed to have been a botched hijacking.

It was this report that convinced Dharmisha Makan to use the escort service for the first time when she and a friend came back from India last week.

“As two women travelling on our own, we definitely felt safe just to know that we’re being followed by a security company that we are familiar with, as they do the guarding at our complex.

“They followed both of us to our homes and we felt safe. So did our family members, who knew we were going to make it home safe,” Makan enthused, adding that she would “definitely” use the service again.

ON ALERT: A panic button was activated while The Star was patrolling with Vision Tactical in Houghton. It took the response unit roughly three minutes to react, but it turned out to be a false alarm.   Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips

Theba added that he was aware the police were trying to curb the crime of airport followings by doing stop and searches of cars leaving the airport.

But he said some of his clients were apprehensive about the police because of reports that officers – or people disguised as law enforcement personnel – were also part of criminal activity around the airport.

This has to do with the brazen airport heist in March, where more than R20 million was stolen by robbers who, it is believed, included police officers and airport security personnel.

“There are times when people get nervous about being questioned by police.

“People are nervous about sharing information with police at the airport because they are living in fear due to the reports about officers being involved in some of these crimes,” Theba said.

“So, if they know that they are dealing with a security company that they know and trust, they feel a lot more comfortable to talk to the police. That’s what we are trying to do – making people feel a lot safer.”

The company, Theba said, employed only highly skilled personnel, such as Boloka “Bravo 7” Diale.

He is a commander within Vision Tactical, and told The Star he was trained in special weapons and tactics, or Swat, and previously worked for the US Embassy and a cash-in-transit company.

Asked what the scariest part of the job was, Diale asserted: “For me, there is no scary part, because I am used to it. Maybe if I was starting out it would be scary, but right now it’s like having bread with tea.”

Fight fire with fire, Mbalula tells the police

Acting national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane, right, welcomes the newly appointed Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, centre, and his deputy, Bongani Mkongi, in Pretoria. Picture: Bongani Shilubane

Pretoria – New Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula urged members of the SAPS on Tuesday to fight fire with fire.

The former sport and recreation minister said the relationship between the department and criminals would be like “chalk and cheese”.

“We are not going to be soft on criminals. Police officers must fight fire with fire,” he said.

Mbalula made this promise during a parade to mark his official welcome to the Police Ministry at the SAPS Academy in Pretoria West.

He was accompanied by his deputy Bongani Mkongi.

“When President Jacob Zuma appointed us, he said we must mobilise our people to work with the police to fight and defeat crime,” Mbalula said, adding fighting and beating crime was their mandate.

“No police officer will die in vain; anyone who kills a police officer will be met with fire. I am not saying shoot-to-kill, but shoot back. You have guns; use them to protect yourselves and communities.”

Mbalula urged communities to work together with the police to fight crime. He also urged the police to be honest and not be on the payroll of criminals. “Minister Gigaba (finance minister Malusi Gigaba), said the police budget must be increased so we can fight crime,” he said.

Mbalula was also critical of the tendency by communities to destroy infrastructure during protests.

He said students and every citizen were allowed to protest, but should not destroy property.

Mkongi called for police officers’ salaries to be increased. “If we want to beat the negative morale of police officers, we must pay them well so they could do their jobs.”

Acting national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane said SAPS members were willing and committed to take guidance and direction from Mbalula in the execution of their work.

Mbalula said he would focus on places like Sunnyside as criminals had captured the city.

He said they planned roadshows to get first-hand experience on challenges faced by police.

Pretoria News

Hawks arrest Chubb guards in FNB safety deposit boxes robbery

JOHANNESBURG – The Hawks have arrested two Chubb security guards in connection with a robbery at a First National Bank (FNB) branch in Ferndale, where 360 safety deposit boxes were stolen.

It’s alleged the guards stole the boxes after drilling the wall to gain access to the vault in December.

The boxes contained valuables such as firearms, jewellery, money and documents.

The Hawks’ Ndivhuwo Mulamu says, “We followed up on information and recovered only 250 of those safety deposit boxes. They were damaged, forcibly opened and emptied at an open field near FNB Stadium, just three days after the robbery.”

PARKTOWN ROBBERY

Last month, FNB CEO Jacques Celliers said early findings of an internal investigation into a heist at their Parktown branch led to the suspension of three employees believed to be linked to the crime.

The bank said it will assist and facilitate customers in with their insurance claims, but was unclear what will happen to those who had not covered their valuables.

Celliers said a final report still needs to be completed.

“It would appear that there could’ve been some collusion between our staff and in that case we’ll be reaching out to them to try and have discussions around the next steps.”

RANDBURG ROBBERY

Celliers said a separate investigation is taking place for the Randburg branch and the bank will only be in a position to assess claims once that probe is done.

“There are conversations around how we can help and come to a settlement. Depending on the final internal investigation, unless some other information comes up, we’re very interested to see if we can get finality and closure as soon as possible.”

18 arrested, 16 illegal firearms seized in Gauteng

Johannesburg – Sixteen illegal firearms, including a revolver, a rifle, and various pistols, were recovered by police and 18 people were arrested during weekend crime prevention operations, Gauteng police said on Sunday.

The firearms were recovered in Moffatview, Sandton, Atteridgeville, Midrand, Eden Park, Jeppe, Johannesburg Central, and Orange Farm, among others, spokesman Lt-Col Lungelo Dlamini said.

Those arrested would be charged with possession of unlicensed firearms when they appear in various magistrate’s courts on Monday, he said.

“In one of the incidents in Sandton, an owner of a restaurant, a woman, and an employee, a man, were off-loading goods from a vehicle. They were attacked by two men, one armed with a knife and the other with a firearm.

“The woman was stabbed and the employee was shot in the upper body and died at the scene. The suspects fled without taking anything. One suspect who had a firearm was pointed out by members of the community and arrested not far from the scene of the crime. A firearm was recovered.”

He would be charged with murder, attempted murder, and possession of an unlicensed firearm when he appears in court on Monday. The woman who was stabbed was treated at a local hospital and discharged.

During stop-and-search operations In Moffatview, Jeppe, and Nelmapius, police searched suspicious people and vehicles. Unlicensed pistols were seized and suspects arrested, Dlamini said.

Police appealed to members of the community to report any suspicious vehicles and people. Information could be given to Crime Stop at 08600-10111 or the nearest police station at all hours.

Information that may lead to the arrest of suspects involved in serious and violent crimes may be rewarded.

M1 highway project to be delayed beyond May 2017

JOHANNESBURG – The Johannesburg Roads Agency(JRA) says the construction project on the M1 highway will now be completed later in 2017 and not by May as planned.

The JRA has attributed the delays to geo-technical issues and local labour disputes.

The agency gave a briefing on Thursday on the M1 bridge rehabilitation and traffic implications for the M1, Oxford, Federation and double-decker bridges.

The construction, which started earlier this year, has led to lane restrictions and closures, which have led to significant traffic delays.

JRA’s managing director Sean Phillips says: “We found the ground conditions were worse than expected, so we have had to include additional work for the contractor to do, resulting in the extension of time. There have also been some sporadic labour disputes, but the main cause of the delay is the additional scope of work.”

Police warn of hijacking trend

Police have warned residents of a new hijacking trend after an elderly couple was attacked at their home in Monument Park on Thursday.

ADT security said the woman and her husband were attacked by four men in a chocolate brown Audi A3, previously seen at the couple’s gate this week.

ADT Pretoria district manager Leon Muller said: “We suspect the couple had been followed home from the shops.”

Muller said fortunately ADT had a patrol vehicle dedicated to the area and a reaction officer who witnessed the attack was immediately able to assist the couple and call for medical assistance.

Netcare 911 arrived on the scene and spokesperson Athlenda Mathe said the couple sustained moderate injuries and were stabilised before they were taken to hospital.

The attackers are still at large but ADT is working closely with the police on a lead, said Muller.

Lyttelton police spokesperson Captain Dave Miller said: “We have noticed a trend as criminals driving luxury cars seem to be following motorists home, only to attack them as they park awaiting their gates to open.”

“We [police] urge members of the public to be cautious at all times when driving home. If you feel you are being followed, rather circle your block to ensure you’re not being followed.”

He said since over 60 percent of hijackings took place close to home, knowing what to look out for and how to prevent falling victim to hijackers was very important, particularly approaching the festive season.

“Being aware of your surroundings and knowing how to respond if you find yourself in a hijacking is critical,” said Muller.

He said ADT had partnered with the National Hijack Prevention Academy and offered motorists the following safety tips:

  • Be particularly vigilant when you leave a shopping centre. Hijackers could have spotters working in the centre to alert them of any big purchases or cash withdrawals.
  • If you suspect you are being followed, indicate to turn then slow down at least two to three houses prior to your home. This will force the motorist behind you to overtake and this could cause criminals to lose interest.
  • If you need to stop in your driveway to manually open the gate, always leave the key in the ignition and the motor running unless you have a child in the car. Only then should you take the key with you as you open the gate. The key is a valuable negotiating tool – they want your car and you want your child.
  • Always make sure you can see the back wheels of the car in front of you when you stop in traffic. This gives you enough room to manoeuvre should you be boxed in.
  • Don’t fall for the “tap tap” trap in which a driver slightly bumps the back of your car in traffic. Hijackers often use lady drivers as decoys here. Don’t get out of your car to assess the damage but rather signal to the other driver to follow you then drive to a busy location. If this is a scam, they will seldom follow you.
  • If you stay in a secure complex with security guards, do not be fooled into thinking you are safe. You can easily be followed into your complex so always remain vigilant. Research shows most people relax the closer they get to home and this is often when they are most vulnerable.

Muller said it was vital to know how to hand your car over in a non-threatening manner during a hijacking.

“The golden rule is to not antagonise the hijackers. You need to show them you are not a threat. Lift up your arms to show you have no weapon and will surrender. Use your left arm to undo your seat belt and put your car in neutral,” he said.

“Leave the motor running and get out slowly. Try and angle your body sideways so you are not facing a firearm head-on. Avoid eye contact with the hijackers but try to take in as much information you can use to identity them. Most importantly try to remain calm.”

Sanco calls for intensified action against crime syndicates

Cape Town – The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) on Sunday called for action against crime syndicates to be intensified.

This followed the recent raid on “a vast underground Cape Flats bunker” in Cape Town that netted at least 250 illegal guns, ammunition, and an undisclosed amount of cash, Sanco national spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu said in a statement

“We applaud police for the breakthrough which has dealt a serious blow to the drug trade, gangsterism, and the scourge of violent crime, as well as other illegal activities that have infested the Cape Flats communities,” he said.

That criminal operation “could not have survived without involvement of corrupt police”.

“We hope that further investigations will shed light as to the origin of the weapons as well as unmask those who are part of the syndicate and those who benefited from turning a blind eye to its activities,” Mahlangu said.

 He commended community members for the tip-off that led to the arrest of four people.

“The angry reaction from some quarters in the Valhalla Park community is not surprising because criminal syndicates insulate themselves by either threatening into submission to a gang-culture those in their neighbourhood, buying protection, or dispensing drug benefits and dependency that endear them to those close to them to ensure their survival.”

More arrests and a clampdown on crime syndicates would restore public confidence in policing, Mahlangu said.