Durban jewellery heist couple arrested in East London after months on the run

A tip-off led to the arrest of Mohamed Billal Sheik, 37, and 42-year-old Zahida Rahaman, who were involved in the 2013 break-in at the Cherry Design store in Durban's Gateway shopping centre.
A tip-off led to the arrest of Mohamed Billal Sheik, 37, and 42-year-old Zahida Rahaman, who were involved in the 2013 break-in at the Cherry Design store in Durban's Gateway shopping centre.
Image: 123RF/ scanrail

A Durban couple who pulled off a multimillion-rand jewellery heist in 2013 and has been on the run since 2018, was arrested in East London on Monday morning.

A tip-off led to the arrest of Mohamed Billal Sheik, 37, and 42-year-old Zahida Rahaman, who were involved in the 2013 break-in at the Cherry Design store in Durban's Gateway shopping centre.

Coast to Coast Special Investigations private investigator Sean Peirce, who had been helping the police, said the relentless pursuit of the couple led to their arrest.

"We posted all over Facebook and crime groups about them being on the run. A tip-off came on Thursday. It was communicated to Durban police, who contacted East London police. It was discovered the pair were working in East London. The warrants of arrests were e-mailed and they were arrested this morning [Monday]," he told TimesLIVE.

TWO SUSPECTS ARRESTED This morning 18/5/2020 at 5 am in a joint operation with Durban North SAPS and East London Hawks...

Posted by Sean Peirce on Monday, May 18, 2020

Peirce said the couple would be transported back to Durban later in the week.

The convicted duo and an accomplice, Imitiaz Hoosen, 32, fled from court during a lunch break in November 2018. Hoosen was traced to his home and is serving a 15-year sentence.

Rahaman was described as the "inside person" as she had been an employee at the jewellery store for more than two years. She made copies of the store's keys and tampered with the store's CCTV footage on the night of the robbery.

Within hours of the robbery, the three were arrested.

Rahaman's husband, who had been unaware of her alleged love affair with Sheik, was present at their first court appearance.

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