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Mpumalanga police warn against transport scam after 2 victims robbed at gunpoint

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Mpumalanga police are warning community members to be extra vigilant in view of a transport scam which nearly reared its ugly head at Pienaar near Nelspruit, whereby motorists, bakkie owners in the main, were targeted by individuals who would lure them into secluded spots under the disguise of looking for transport.

These men who are armed would call unsuspecting bakkie owners pretending to be in a dire need for transport to ferry their traditional herbs to another area.

When the victim responds positively to the hidden trap and proceeds to the place where he is directed to, he would be accosted at gunpoint, robbed of his vehicle stripped then left tied up in the bushes.

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The warning comes after two incidents happened at which two victims were done a blow where similar tricks were employed. On the first incident which took place on Monday, 18 May 2020, a 48-year-old man received a strange call from a person who sounded desperate requesting for assistance to transport traditional herbs back home.

He also added that he would pay the victim for his services, to which he agreed. The victim was then given directions to the said location where the herbs were to be collected however upon arrival, was pounced by four men of which two were armed. They then tied him up with ropes, stripped his bakkie and abandoned him in the bushes.

The victim later reported the matter to the police where a case of armed robbery was registered.

In another similar incident, which occurred on Thursday, 21 May 2020, a 24-year-old man also received a phone call requesting him to assist in collecting traditional herbs from the bush at Zwelisha trust. The man agreed to avail his assistance after being told he would be paid for his services.

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He then made his way with his Hyundai bakkie to where he was directed but he too was attacked by four suspects who pointed him with firearms and robbed of his bakkie. The suspects, however, were cornered by members of the community who saw the incident, came to his rescue and further managed to subdue two of the suspects, whilst two others managed to abscond.

Police were alerted about the matter where the suspects were apprehended for armed robbery and are currently under police guard at the hospital after sustaining some injuries during the process of being subdued by the community.

Police have since issued a warning to the public, particularly motorists to take extra precaution and avoid to fall prey in the hands of criminals.

Community members should be wary who they deal with and should stop entertaining requests as unsuspecting victims have already been lured to secluded areas with a sole intention to rob them.

Others might get a call with deliberately misleading information indicating that a particular government department is in need of transport to ferry goods from one area to another where the victim is promised a substantial amount of money for services to be rendered.

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This is just another way in which criminals orchestrate plans to rob victims of their hard-earned investment.

The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma has since welcomed the arrest of the duo.

“We are delighted by the arrest of the suspects and I applaud the community for the relentless role they displayed in the apprehension of the suspects as well as informing police about the incident. Though we encourage people to participate in the endeavours by police to address crime, this should be done within the ambit of the law and by that, we imply that people should not take the law into their own hands. We urge the public to inform police about any criminal activities, “said General Zuma.

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