Bank robbery suspects sought

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Mpumalanga police are looking for two suspects who escaped shortly after attempting to rob the Carolina branch of the First National Bank on Thursday afternoon.

Provincial police spokesman Captain Leonard Hlathi told Sowetan that two other suspects were arrested following a high-speed car chase with police in the streets of Senobela township, near Carolina, shortly after 1pm.

He said the drama started inside the bank when three suspects queued with other bank clients inside the bank while the fourth suspect waited at the door.

"As soon as the first suspect arrived at the counter, he pointed a firearm at a bank official. The other three also produced firearms before announcing that their mission was a bank robbery," said Hlathi.

The robbers instructed bank clients to lie down while some of them asked bank officials to take them to the bank's safe.

While bank officials were taking the robbers to the safe, a shot accidentally went off from one of their firearms. The loud bang attracted the attention of shoppers who were outside the bank.

Hlathi said two of the robbers jumped into their getaway car, a white Mazda 3, and drove off, while the other two disappeared.

A policeman attached to the police's crime prevention unit arrived at the scene and people pointed at the speeding car and explained what had just transpired.

The policeman gave chase while calling for back-up, The robbers drove towards nearby Senobela township.

A number of police vehicles cornered the suspects. "They ran into the bushes, but two of them were caught," explained Hlathi.

The firearm that was recovered had its serial numbers filed off. The two suspects are expected to appear in the Carolina magistrate's court today.

Police have requested anyone with information about the two suspects who disappeared to contact Detective inspector Emson Mthombeni at 013-283-3800 or 082-782-3059.

Meanwhile, police are still looking for three bank robbers who robbed the Delmas branch of the FNB of more than R100000 and shot a security guard dead on September 29.

The suspects, who are believed to be foreigners, have not yet been arrested despite their identikits having recently been published in the media.