Pretoria – Police have arrested several suspects in a significant breakthrough in what has been dubbed the "airport-following" robberies, committed in and around the Johannesburg area, News24 reported.
Police spokesperson, Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo, said the breakthrough came on Friday evening, following arrests made by police members based at the OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) and the Johannesburg East Cluster.
"The team, acting on information, monitored a security vehicle and discovered that this vehicle, which is contracted to work at OR Tambo International Airport, was following a sedan from ORTIA travelling towards Sandton," he said.
Naidoo said the security vehicle was stopped with two occupants inside. He said police discovered that one of the occupants, a security company manager, was wanted for a case of possession of an unlicensed firearm and an armed robbery in the Limpopo province.
"The security company manager, as well as a second occupant in the security vehicle, were immediately arrested," he said.
Naidoo said the team had worked throughout the night and during the early hours of Saturday morning, and arrested a further four suspects in the Hillbrow area.
"All six suspects are between 23 and 38 years of age. A seventh suspect managed to escape and he is still at large but being sought by the police," he said.
"Several incriminating items, including the security vehicle, a sedan, passports, at least 15 cellular phones and several luggage bags have been recovered in Hillbrow."
Naidoo said the team also recovered two pistols which will be sent for ballistic testing to establish which crimes, if any, they may have been used in.
"The team is also investigating the possibility that these may have been the same suspects that are responsible for the robbery of seven foreign visitors at Colette Drive this past Thursday night," he said
Deputy national commissioner responsible for policing, Lieutenant General Fanie Masemola, complimented both the teams of OR Tambo International Airport and the Johannesburg East Cluster for a job well done.
"The sterling work by these teams has brought us a step closer to cracking these incidents of 'airport-following' robberies and they must be commended," said Masemola.
"However, our job does not end here, we will still have a lot to do to solve the many robberies that were committed and to prevent new ones from taking place and we won't rest until we reach a positive outcome," he said.