Ricochet News

Church and stokvels targeted in brazen armed robberies, police warn residents

Dec 5, 2017
Church and stokvels targeted in brazen armed robberies, police warn residents

Police in Port Elizabeth are again cautioning stokvels after the Motherwell Cluster was hit by four armed robberies in just 24 hours where the object was the savings monies of stokvel societies.

"In the first incident, on Sunday, at about 17:00, three armed suspects kicked open a church door in Mhenga Street, NU10 where money was being counted by the complainants. The money was demanded by the suspects and also took six cellphones before they fled the scene," described police spokesperson, Captain Andre Beetge.

Later on Sunday afternoon at 13:45, four armed males entered a house in Mtata Street, Wells Estate, where stokvel monies were about to be counted. The suspects again demanded the money then fled the scene.

"On Monday morning, at about 03:30, the kitchen door was kicked open by three armed suspects at a house in Nkwenkwezi Street, Ikamvelihle," he added.

"They demanded the stokvel monies from the home owner before fleeing the scene.

"Later on Monday morning, at about 09:45, two elderly ladies and their driver returned from the bank where they withdrew the stokvel money.

"On their arrival at one of the victim's homes in Ngwendu Street, Kwazakele, three armed males forced open the vehicle doors and shot the 52-year-old driver in his his upper right leg. While they were busy robbing the one elderly lady carrying one of the money bags, the other elderly lady ran with the second money bag into an outside toilet and locked herself in."

He said that the suspects forced open the toilet door and also robbed her of that money bag, before fleeing the scene in a white Hyundai sedan vehicle.

"In all four cases police suspects that the robbers had prior knowledge of the stockvel money," Captain Beetge said.

The Motherwell Cluster Commander, Major General Dawie Rabie, has urged the organisers of these stockvel societies not to announce when the money are to be withdrawn to all members.

He said that safer distribution of the money through bank accounts are safer options than carrying such large amounts of money around, or keeping it at their homes.

"Robbers of these stockvel societies have proven in the past that these monies were not handled with safety precautions, making victims vulnerable for being robbed," he added.