South African Police Service (SAPS) officers in Gauteng have been put on alert after several firearms, which had been stolen from two police stations were found outside the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Soweto on Sunday afternoon.
The weapons were stolen from SAPS offices between March and May, and have reappeared under suspicious circumstances that have police reinvestigating the cases.
Firearms stolen from two different stations
SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said that the weapons had been found abandoned at a section of the hospital that is currently undergoing renovations on Sunday 20 Septemeber.
“Preliminary investigations have already revealed that all three firearms belong to the State and had been reported stolen in March and April this year,” he said.
“The one firearm was reported stolen from the Johannesburg Central police living quarters in March 2020, while the other two were allegedly stolen in April 2020 from two offices during a break in at Hillbrow SAPS, he said, adding that no arrests have been made at this stage relating to the mysterious discovery.
He said that among the items found with the firearms were live ammunition, as well as SAPS uniforms and operational items.
SAPS reopen cases into theft of weapons
Gauteng Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela has now sanctioned an urgent investigation into how the stolen weapons ended up together at the country’s biggest public hospital. He has ordered the immediate centralisation of the initial cases by the detectives who opened the dockets.
“The alleged abandonment of these firearms at such an important health facility is in no way innocent,” he said.
“It is clear that had the stolen state firearms not been found, they were intended to be used during the commission of crime where innocent victims would have been killed or injured.”
Not the first time SAPS gets robbed
Mawela also reminded all members of law enforcement agencies to prioritise their safety during this Police Safety Month and beyond, and to ensure the safekeeping of their state issued firearms “as criminals have proven that they will not hesitate to attack and/or kill police officers to either get the firearm or remove police who represent an obstruction to their criminal activities”.
SAPS stations and offices have become the victim of the very crimes they seek to root out in the past, with an arsenal of weapons stolen from a Kimberley station in March.
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