2008-02-22 : Woman's crime rampage

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2008-02-22 : Woman's crime rampage

Postby GOSA » Fri, 2008-03-07 08:22

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1 ... 410C394465


Woman's crime rampage [halted by armed businessman]


February 22 2008 at 06:17AM

By Botho Molosankwe


For eight years, a Soweto woman allegedly robbed and stole from
businesses across Gauteng - but her criminal mission was brought to a
bloody halt when she tried to take on a gun-toting Benoni jeweller.


Now the police are beginning to piece together a history of crime
dating back to 2000 involving the 30-year-old woman, who used her
"charming smile" and good looks to dupe several businesses out of
goods.


In the latest incident, on February 8, she and an accomplice pretended
to be a couple in love and about to become engaged.


Well dressed and well groomed, they asked a Benoni jeweller to show
them his range of diamond rings.


But once they had chosen a white-gold ring with a diamond, negotiated
a discount and agreed on a R4 000 price tag, the couple and an
accomplice - who had been hovering in the background - revealed their
true intentions.


They reportedly pointed a firearm at the 57-year-old store owner and
told him that "This is a robbery".


They then shot him.


But they didn't expect the wounded man to pull out his own firearm and
return fire, hitting the woman and both accomplices.


Leaving a trail of blood and shattered glass behind, the trio fled to
a waiting getaway bakkie driven by yet another accomplice.


The vehicle was allegedly stolen in Alberton in November.


According to the investigating officer, Inspector Peter Mbonani, the
quartet left without taking anything.


Three were arrested after driving into a roadblock in Bruma about 20
minutes later. One of the men is still at large.


Since the woman's arrest, police have begun to uncover several other
theft and robbery cases in which she is said to have been involved.


Superintendent Tommy Steyn, another officer working on the case, said
she could be linked to at least 16 cases for which she is awaiting
trial.


In 2000, the woman was arrested for allegedly shoplifting in
Wierdapark, Centurion, near Pretoria.


The next year, another case was opened against her in Brakpan and
Hercules, Pretoria.


In 2002 she allegedly committed an offence in Honeydew.


Two years later, she was arrested three times for alleged theft in
Brooklyn in Pretoria, Lyttelton in Centurion and in Meyerton, south of
Joburg.


It also was found that in at least eight other cases, warrants of
arrest were issued for her.


Steyn said it appeared that in some of the cases, the woman gave a
false name when arrested.


In each case she would be arrested, released on bail but would not
return to court on the required days.


Her "lover" accomplice was also linked to other crimes, including bank
robberies.


Meanwhile, the owner of the jewellery store, who did not want to be
named for fear of reprisal, told The Star that all he wanted was to
forget about those few minutes of the shootout.


The incident had affected him badly, and he said he now did not trust
anybody - yet he had to keep his business going.


"Everyone to me is a customer and I can't close my doors on people; I
have to eat. I'm very bitter about what happened. We work in jails and
live in jails, we are not safe anymore," the jeweller said.


Meanwhile, Mmalefa Skhosana and Amos Mthembu appeared briefly at the
Benoni magistrate's court this week in connection with charges of
armed robbery, possession of a firearm and ammunition as well as
attempted murder.


Skhosana and Mthembu will appear in court on Monday for a bail application.


o This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on February 22, 2008
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GOSA
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