Police have arrested a man believed to be behind a series of robberies in Athlone.
Athlone police station’s Captain Peter Merino said the man had been arrested on Sunday April 1 after he had tried rob a security guard at the Athlone stadium.
Captain Merino said the man had confronted the guard in an office, pushed him to the ground and pointed a gun at him.
The would-be robber had fled after finding the guard had nothing of value.
“Law enforcement officers who were on the scene attended to the security guard and they drove around the area to find the suspect, which they did.
Captain Merino said they had arrested a man carrying an imitation gun.
“He has been arrested before on numerous charges of robbery, but every time the victims either withdraw their statements or they don’t show up in court,” said Captain Merino.
The suspect, according to Captain Merino, is a known member of the Playboys gang.
“He is known by the police for criminal activity, and he will be charged with an armed robbery even though it was a fake gun,” he said.
The suspect is being held at the Pollsmoor prison and was due to appear at the Athlone Magistrate’s Court yesterday, Tuesday April 10.
Captain Merino urged the community to report crime and not to withdraw statements as the charges would be dropped if they did so.
“We can’t arrest people if we don’t have evidence linking that person to the crime.
“If the community sees something happening they must report it. Sometimes they don’t want to get involved, but even if they just know the person’s name or face it will help because we have a file with the common offenders’ profiles in it which shows their faces which they might be able to identify,” he said.
Athlone Community Police Forum chairperson, Aziza Kannemeyer, added: “He has been a continuous problem to this community. Many of these robbers are targeting innocent women on their way to their public transport for work.
“We are happy that he has been arrested, and we hope that he doesn’t receive bail because we can do with less unsavoury characters in our community,” Ms Kannemeyer said.