Three suspects aged between 30 and 47 were caught in the act stealing fuel during a business robbery at a certain energy depot in Piet Retief. The incident reportedly took place in the late hours of yesterday, Wednesday 21 June 2023 around 23:00. During their arrest a licenced firearm with ammunition were also confiscated.

According to the information, police in Piet Retief received a complaint about a business robbery in progress at a certain business premise. The members immediately attended to the incident and upon arrival at the scene, they discovered that suspects were busy draining diesel from a depot tanker into a truck. It is further alleged that four employees were tied up with shoe laces then locked in a guard room. Five suspects were spotted and reportedly started to run when they noticed police presence, in an attempt to evade arrest. However, the members gave chase and managed to arrest two of the suspects on the spot.

Police members continued to pursue the suspects and they succeeded when they arrested the third suspect who was cornered whilst driving a VW Polo with Lesotho registration number plates. The car was spotted driving towards Ermelo direction and it was followed and intercepted by the members approximately 30 kilometres towards Ermelo. It was during this time that a firearm was found in the possession of the suspect. Though it was discovered that the firearm is licensed, the Police confiscated the weapon for further investigation in order to establish any linkages to crimes committed in the country.

On further investigation, the astute members discovered that the vehicle identification numbers of the truck, used by suspects, were filed off. Police investigations to determine the owner of the truck is underway.

Meanwhile the three were charged for business robbery and possession of suspected stolen property. More charges could possibly be added against the suspects as the investigation continues.

The trio is expected to appear at the Piet Retief Magistrate’s Court tomorrow, Friday 23 June 2023, facing the said charges.

The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela commended members for the sterling work done. “Indeed our fight against crime, more especially violent crimes is yielding positive results. It is however concerning to learn that licensed owners of firearms are allegedly found using those weapons to commit crime. The law must deal decisively with such without fear or favour” said the General.