Hawks make breakthrough in iStore robberies

Three suspects have been arrested in connection with the robberies of at least 3 iStores.

Police cordon off the scene of the iStore robbery at Centution Mall on 22 August, 2014. Picture: Twitter via @kelstamza.

JOHANNESBURG -The Hawks have finally made a breakthrough in their efforts to smash a gang targeting shopping malls and iStores in Gauteng.

Three suspects have been arrested in Tembisa in connection with at least three iStore robberies.

Stores at Cresta, the Glen and Centurion were robbed last month with iPads and iPhones worth hundreds of thousands of rands being taken.

The Hawks say the trio are believed to be part of a syndicate and more arrests are expected.

Hawks spokesperson Paul Ramaloko says, "The suspects are all foreign nationals. They are apparently linked to a string of iStore robberies. We are busy with the investigation."

Eleven shopping centres have been targeted in the past month and in most cases, gangs held up staff at gadget stores.

At the same time, more arrests were made earlier this week in connection with the mall robberies.

Four men were arrested in Brixton and Doornfontein on Tuesday.They have been linked to two of the 11 robberies.

Police have now identified at least 12 shopping malls as high-risk zones.

Gauteng police says armoured vehicles and nyalas will now patrol outside malls in the province following the spate of robberies.

Police are also offering a R200,000 reward for any information that may lead to the arrest and successful prosecution of these criminals.

Gauteng malls under attack : Armed robberies 13 August - 8 September 2014.