Nine held over robbery spree

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Ladysmith police have arrested nine suspects in connection with a spate of robberies that have plagued two plush residential areas over the past month.

Police in the sleepy town in northern KwaZulu-Natal recently established a task team after several residents became victims of house robberies while asleep or at work. The robbers targeted DVDs and TV sets.

"Police have now made a breakthrough in the robbery cases," police spokesman Charmaine Struwig said.

Struwig said the breakthrough followed an attempted theft in Ruby Gailey Drive.

"A resident was awakened by the noise of someone attempting to gain entry to his house at midnight. Police and a local security company responded and arrested a suspect hiding in the yard.

"Shortly afterwards two other suspects were arrested by police while trying to flee down Egerton Road."

Police interrogation led them to Umbulwane village in the Steadville area, where three others were arrested and a firearm and several stolen items recovered.

She said the police then went to two other villages and two more suspects were arrested. Three firearms and stolen property were recovered.

Station Commissioner Director Pinky Nkomonde, in commending her team, said she was proud to have such tenacious and determined officers working at the station.

"The recent death of Inspector Thulani Baldwin Zikalala, who was killed on Monday during a robbery at a business, shows our officers are prepared to die to protect others."

Task team leader Superintendent Sakkie Tredoux said police task teams were proving effective in fighting crime because of help from the community and from the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce, which had mobilised security firms to work hand in hand with police.