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Pastor bust with toy gun, car key after cops probe balaclava house robbery

The car keys of a stolen car landed a Bushbuckridge pastor behind bars.
The car keys of a stolen car landed a Bushbuckridge pastor behind bars.
Image: Allan Swart/123RF

The key to a vehicle stolen by a masked gunman during a house robbery in Bushbuckridge played an integral part in the nabbing of a pastor suspected to have committed the crime, Mpumalanga police said on Wednesday.

The man of the cloth is set to appear in the Bushbuckridge magistrate’s court after the key was found on him when police arrested him on Tuesday.

“Preliminary investigations have revealed that a 48-year-old woman from College View in Bushbuckridge was preparing to go to work as well as getting her 13-year-old daughter ready for school when a man wearing a balaclava suddenly entered their house with a firearm and held them hostage. He tied up both of them with cable ties,” Brig Leonard Hlathi said in a statement.

“The man then robbed the family of their household items, including a plasma TV, car keys, a music system as well as other items, before driving off with the stolen items in the victim's Toyota Avanza,” Hlathi added.

Working with a car tracking company, police followed the route the stolen car had travelled to a house in Violet Bank.

“Items stolen during the robbery were found. They further got information that the items were allegedly left there by a man who is known in the area as a pastor [who was earlier seen] driving a Toyota Avanza,” Hlathi said.

The pastor was not at the house at the time. The trail was followed to Acornhoek, where the car was found dumped without its key.

Police then went to the pastor’s house in Malaineng near Bushbuckridge.

“They found him in possession of the car key. Police searched his place and also found a toy gun, which they believe was the one used by the suspect to commit the house robbery,” said Hlathi.


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