Two suspects caught after series of ATM bombings, police on manhunt for the rest
MPUMALANGA - Two suspects appeared in the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court today for charges related to ATM bombing and other robbery-aggravated incidents.
The suspects were traced to their hideouts in Mhluzi near Middelburg yesterday, and were found in possession of explosives and stained money.
Two ATMs in Badplaas were bombed on Monday. This week alone, various heavily armed groups robbed filling stations in Badplaas, Mmametlhake and kaBokweni respectively.
The arrested suspects, Teli Elson Molotha (59) and Sandile Victor Ngcobo (44), who is attached to the SANDF stationed at Middelburg, were allegedly part of a group of six heavily armed men, that stormed into a filling station in Badplaas, held a security guard at gunpoint, threatened to set him alight, detonated two ATMs and fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash.
The police launched an intelligence-driven operation which led them to Mhluzi, where the suspects were apprehended. The court remanded them in custody, pending a bail application next Wednesday, August 5. Molotha and Ngcobo are also expected to appear at the Carolina Magistrate’s Court for the bombing of the ATMs in Badplaas. In the meantime, the police have launched a manhunt for the rest of the suspects, and request the community to contact Det WO Nkosinathi Ndaba on 082-318-9530 with any information that may be useful to the case.
The Badplaas incident follows others in kaBokweni and Mmametlhake that occurred on Monday, in which armed suspects also attacked filling stations.
In kaBokweni, a group of about fifteen suspects appeared on foot, firing shots randomly with high-calibre weapons. They blasted the safes in the station shop, took an undisclosed amount of cash and fled the scene, again on foot. No arrests have been made as yet. Anyone with information that may assist the investigation is requested to contact Det Cpt Shaka Nkosi on 071-200-1669.
The Mmametlhake robbery was committed by more than three armed suspects. They blasted two ATMs and took an undisclosed amount of cash before fleeing the scene. A security guard responsible for the station’s safety sustained injuries in the process, which led the police to open an additional case of attempted murder. No one has been arrested, and anyone with information useful to the investigation may call Det Cpt Solomon Moshime on 082-065-1355.
The provincial commissioner of SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lt Gen Mondli Zuma, lauded the police for the arrest, and ordered them to investigate these cases thoroughly. "We believe that the arrest of the two men is a great achievement, and that more arrests are imminent," he said.
Editor: Anchen Coetzee
Written by: Wahl Lessing
Submitted by: Brig Leonard Hlathi