Johannesburg – Three suspected members of the infamous Rolex Gang had to listen to how they were apprehended – thanks to a police officer who refused to back down, even after he was shot.
Mphikeleni Betha, Sipho Mabundla and George Mulaudzi are accused of committing 12 robberies over six weeks in 2014 as part of the gang, tracking down people who had recently purchased highly valuable items.
On Monday, their trial began at the high court in Palm Ridge, with former police warrant officer Derek Bruce Macintosh taking the stand as the State’s first witness.
It was Macintosh who, while alone on patrol, apprehended the men after a gunfight in the streets of Sandton that left a fourth gangster dead.
Macintosh, who has since left the police service, said his first encounter with the alleged gangsters was on March 12, 2014.
Travelling with his partner, Warrant Officer Robert Durkin, they identified a BMW that fit the description of one used in a robbery the previous day. However, when they turned on the blue lights and siren of their state-issued Golf GTI, the BMW began to speed away. As the BMW raced down Rivonia Road, the occupants opened fire, hitting the GTI numerous times.
While the officers fired back, their vehicle had taken too much damage.They were forced to stop as the men made their way towards an on-ramp.
But it seemed the BMW was too hot to keep. It was found later that day abandoned at the Woodmead McDonald’s, littered with shotgun shells and 9mm rounds.
Only a month later would Macintosh identify a silver Chevrolet the police believed was used by the same gang.
Around 1pm on April 22, Macintosh spotted the car and tried to pull it over using his siren and blue lights.
As he pursued the car down Rivonia Road, the Chevrolet made a sharp U-turn to go back towards Sunninghill, hitting the island in the road and struggling to move on. Pulling up behind them, Macintosh got out of his vehicle and slowly approached the car, identifying himself as a police officer to the occupants hiding behind tinted windows.
Seconds later, the back right window of the Chevrolet burst, and the flying glass struck Macintosh on the ear.
He returned fire as the car began reversing and speeding back to the intersection.
He followed the Chevrolet as it raced down the road, its passengers once again shooting at his GTI.
At the intersection of 12th Avenue and Rivonia Road, the gang took a major risk, driving into oncoming traffic, later crashing into a minibus taxi and losing a front wheel.
While the driver tried to keep going without a wheel, they collided with another vehicle, bringing the chase to an end.
As Macintosh caught up, the shower of bullets continued after he got out of his vehicle.
Taking a bullet through a muscle in his back didn’t deter him. He continued approaching the Chevrolet, with two of the men jumping out and trying to flee into the streets.
The wounded officer arrested a man in the car and saw that the driver had been killed in the crossfire. Meanwhile, the back-up he had summoned caught the two fleeing men.
Defence advocate Mavhavha Twala insisted his clients had never opened fire on Macintosh, and that only the now deceased driver, Clifford Ngcobo, had been shooting.
When Twala accused Macintosh of killing Ngcobo, Macintosh admitted it was possible that one of his bullets could have killed him. “I was doing my job, protecting myself and those around me,” he said.
The trial continues on Wednesday.
Source: IOL – Crime
How hero cop took on suspected Rolex Gang