End of run for wanted man

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

A man police claim was one of the most wanted criminals in Mpumalanga died when a bullet went off while he was wrestling an R5-rifle from a policeman at the weekend.

Elias Mathebula, 42, was at the Chicago tavern in Komatipoort when he ran into the ladies' toilets, after realising that police had cornered him at about 9pm.

"A policeman armed with an R5-rifle followed the suspect into the dark toilets. The suspect grabbed the rifle and the two wrestled for it.

A shot went off and the suspect was fatally wounded on the head," said Mpumalanga provincial police spokesman, Captain Leonard Hlathi yesterday.

He said the deceased was armed with an Okapi knife that was found in his possession.

The suspect had been wanted by police for a series of armed robberies, house breakings and house robberies in the Mpumalanga Lowveld.

This month alone Mathebula allegedly robbed a Malelane petrol station of R2000 cash before firing shots at the workers without injuring anyone.

He is also alleged to have robbed a bottle store of R3000 in Komatipoort.

In yet another incident, he is alleged to have shot a house owner in the legs at Marloth Park, near Malelane, before looting the house.

In an unrelated crime, police recovered a Land Cruiser valued at R320000 and arrested two other suspects in their early 20's near Sabie.