Eight members of ‘sticky-tape gang’ arrested
POLICE believe they have broken the spine of the notorious “sticky-tape gang” — responsible for a spate of house robberies in the Cato Ridge and Camperdown areas — with the arrest of eight men yesterday.
Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said the men were arrested early yesterday morning at a house in the Sankontshe area near Mpumalanga.
“Eight suspects were arrested and various exhibits were seized linking the men to various robberies on individuals in their homes.
“It is alleged that a large group of armed suspects would confront victims at their homes in the Camperdown, Cato Ridge and Killarney Valley areas and demand cash as well as firearms.”
Naicker said the victims of the crimes had been bound with sticky-tape.
“In some of cases the suspects would also take food from the fridge or eat and drink something before they fled,” he said.
He said police found an unlicensed 9 mm pistol, various 9 mm and 7.65 mm live rounds, two camping chairs, a bag containing a pair of expensive sunglasses, a pair of gloves, a beanie hat and sticky-tape in the house.
Last week, The Witness spoke to two of the gang’s victims, trauma surgeon Dr Daniel den Hollander (56) and a farmer, who asked not to be named, who told how the gang had invaded their homes and robbed them of household goods.
Weekend Witness also reported last week that the gang used pliers to pinch the flesh of an elderly woman on a Camperdown farm.
Police from the Camperdown SAPS, the Pietermaritzburg Tactical Response Team, Pietermaritzburg K9 Unit, and Magma Security and Investigations were involved in yesterday’s arrests.
The suspects, aged between 22 and 26 years, are expected to make an appearance at the Camperdown Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of armed robbery.
Speaking to The Witness last week, Pete Stainbank, of the Eston Mid-Illovo Farm Watch, said he was aware of three cases linked to the gang.
He had said farmers in the area were forced to spend huge amounts of money to protect themselves because they were so isolated. He said he too had noticed that regular police visits to farms had tapered off, but added that local police stations were under pressure.
Provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni congratulated all involved for the breakthrough.
“We are pleased that our multi-disciplinary approach towards solving crimes is benefiting the community.”