Five suspects on the run following shootout with Welkom police

Free State police are looking for five armed male suspects following a shootout with Welkom police yesterday morning.

Police spokesperson in the province, Malebo Khosana, told OFM News the shootout between the suspects and two Thabong police officials ensued in the aftermath of the suspects’ failed attempt at robbing a cell phone store inside Boitumelo Junction Mall.

Khosana says the five armed men entered the shop in the morning, forcing those inside to lie on the ground, and another to take them to the safe where the phones were being kept. Here they loaded the mobile phones into luggage bags. He says the robbery was thwarted by a customer who managed to escape and call for help.

This prompted the robbers to leave behind the bags and flee the scene in a white Toyota bakkie. Khosana explains after speeding off, the suspects encountered a stationary police vehicle in Nkoane Road. He says two members of Thabong SAPS were dropping off a complainant at the doctor near Boitumelo Mall at about 09:30 when a white Toyota Bakkie drove at high speed in Nkoane Road.

According to Khosana the suspects started shooting at the police bakkie which was stationary at the moment. The two members shot back and the bakkie sped off and the members gave chase. The bakkie was lost to the members and vanished. Earlier reports indicated that the events that occurred at the Boitumelo Junction Mall and in Nkoane Road were of a botched cash-in-transit heist. Khosana told OFM News, this is not the case. A case of attempted murder and attempted business robbery has been opened for further investigation.