Two armed robberies could be connected

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Although service is back to normal at the Mangaung Regional Office after an armed robbery took place last week, police are investigating a possible link with another robbery that occurred at a Shell garage on the same day. The Leslie Monnanyane Building in Rocklands was surrounded by numerous police vehicles and forensic personnel after five security guards were tied up and locked inside the toilet by four suspects at around 01:00 last Thursday. The four men, who had their faces covered with balaclavas, gained entry through a broken window at the back of the building before clamping open a safe and fleeing with an undisclosed amount of money.

This happened while six men also robbed a petrol station in the suburb of General De Wet at around 01:10. Bloemfontein Courant visited the scene and reported that the armed suspects had ordered a staff member and customer to lie on the floor. They then bombed a safe and managed to get away with an undisclosed amount of cash. “We are still investigating the possibility that the two robberies were connected. The incidents were reported to have taken place at the same time,” said police spokesperson, Lt-Colonel Thandi Mbambo.

The municipal offices offer services to residents of Bloemfontein with many paying for rates and purchasing electricity at the building. However, municipal spokesperson, Qondile Khedama, assured the public that services were commencing as normal after a short closure last week as police were investigating the scene of the crime. “The situation at the regional office is back to normal. We have allowed the SAPS to do their work; they will be giving us a preliminary report in a short space of time,” explained Khedama.

Khedama stated that the safety of staff and public were of high priority, therefore a new security strategy would be devised by the municipality after conclusion of the report. “This will not only give us an idea as to what had exactly happened, but also an opportunity look at our safety strategy again. We are, however, aware that these incidents have escalated throughout the country and they are beginning to become a common phenomenon in Mangaung,” he stated.

Nomaqhawe Mtebele

nomaqhawe@mahareng.co.za