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Post offices 'becoming targets of armed robbers': Limpopo top cop

Police apprehend suspects who had allegedly planned to rob a post office in Atok, Limpopo.
Police apprehend suspects who had allegedly planned to rob a post office in Atok, Limpopo.
Image: SAPS

Police in Atok, near Polokwane, foiled an armed robbery that was set to take place at a post office used as a social grant pay point.

Limpopo police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo said information was received about a possible robbery on Wednesday in the Bogalatladi area. A snap operation was immediately conducted with the help of a police helicopter.

Mojapelo said a suspicious Ford Ranger with three occupants was spotted along the D4180 road between Atok and Ga-Selepe.

“Soon after stopping, the driver suddenly got out and allegedly pointed [a firearm at] the members. The suspect was then shot and the firearm taken,” he said.

“He was taken to hospital, where he was admitted under police guard.”

Mojapelo said another vehicle, a Toyota Quantum minibus with five occupants, was spotted along the D4190 in the Atok area and the driver was also ordered to stop.

While searching the vehicle, police found a firearm hidden inside. All five occupants were apprehended.

Mojapelo said the suspects, aged between 24 and 40, will appear in Sekhukhune magistrate's court on Friday to face charges of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and possession of illegal firearms and ammunition.

Limpopo acting police commissioner Maj-Gen Jan Petrus Scheepers commended crime intelligence and the tactical response team  for foiling the planned heist.

In a separate incident in Seshego on Thursday, four suspects escaped with an undisclosed sum of cash after robbing a post office.

Armed with firearms, they entered the post office where social grants were being paid out and demanded money from the tellers. They overpowered a security official on duty and wrested away his service pistol.

“It is now becoming clear that our post offices are beginning to be targets of armed robbers. As the police, we will intensify our operations around all affected areas. I urge all relevant stakeholders to closely work with us to stop these criminals in their tracks,” said Scheepers.

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