Suspects arrested in South African robbery of Dutch tourists
The South African police arrested six suspects over the weekend in what is locally known as the "airport-following" robberies, South African news wire News24 reports. These robberies involve a group of criminals following foreigners from O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and robbing them on the way to their hotels. While not specifically stated, it is believed that the robbery of 36 Dutch tourists on a tour bus last month, forms part of this investigation.
The breakthrough in this case happened on Friday evening, when the police arrested two men, police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo said to News24. "The team, acting on information, monitored a security vehicle and discovered that this vehicle, which is contracted to work at OR Tambo International Airport, was following a sedan from the airport traveling to Sandton", Naidoo said. Sandton is a posh suburb in Johannesburg.
Two police teams worked through the night and arrested another four suspects on Saturday morning in Hillbrow, a high crime area in Johannesburg. A seventh suspect is still at large. The police confiscated "several incriminating items", according to Naidoo. These include the security vehicle involved in Friday's arrests, a sedan, several passports, several luggage bags and 15 cellular phones. Most of these items were recovered in Hillbrow. Two firearms were also seized. The police are investigating whether they were used in any crimes.
Lieutenant General Fanie Masemola, the deputy national commissioner responsible for policing in the area around OR Tambo, praised the police teams for these arrests. "The sterling work by these teams has brought us a step closer to cracking these incidents of 'airport-following' robberies and they must be commended", Masemola said to News24. "However, our job does not end here. We will still have a lot to do to solve the many robberies that were committed and to prevent new ones from taking place. And we won't rest until we reach a positive outcome."