Three members of a suspected “Rolex gang” were cornered and arrested after a shootout with police who had been tracking their movements in Johannesburg.
One of the trio was injured after they started shooting at police‚ but were outgunned and outmanoeuvred‚ on the R25 in Modderfontein on Tuesday.
The arrests followed an intelligence-driven operation by a team including police Crime Intelligence‚ the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations‚ SAPS K9 Unit‚ the Alexandra Trio Task Team‚ Gauteng Traffic Saturation Unit as well as the Tracker Connect Investigation Department.
The team had tracked the suspects since a vehicle was hijacked in Alexandra in May.
“The operational plan was successfully implemented with assistance from the SAPS Airwing and Ekurhuleni Metro Police Swat members. When the suspects realized that they had been cornered they started shooting at the team and police responded‚” said the police in a statement.
“Three suspects were arrested at the scene; one sustained injuries during the shootout. The vehicle‚ two handguns with ammunition and other items were seized.”
So-called “Rolex gangs” are notorious for following their victims and robbing them of expensive watches and jewellery.
Acting National Commissioner‚ Lieutenant General Sindile Mfazi‚ commended the tenacity with which the intelligence-driven operation was executed: “Combating car hijackings‚ as a category of the trio crimes‚ is one of our top priorities.
“This collaborative effort of various law enforcement agencies will‚ going forward‚ be incorporated in the normalisation approach that will ensure the sustainability of low levels of serious crime”.
The Hawks will be investigating the case going forward.
And‚ in another case involving Rolex watches‚ six suspects were arrested on June 15 after robbing The Vault at the upmarket Menlyn Mall in Pretoria. They smashed a display window with a hammer and made off with a number of Rolex watches but were later traced by police to various addresses.