PRETORIA – Reported by Tebogo Molokomme: Four suspects between the ages of 28 and 49 will face charges of possession of suspected robbed property and contravention of Hazardous Substance Act 15 of 1973, on Monday, 13 May 2024, in the Midrand Magistrate’s Court.

They were arrested on Friday, 10 May 2024, during a multidisciplinary operation that included the Hawks’ Tactical Operations Management Section (TOMS) from National Head Office, Johannesburg Hawks’ National Priority Violent Crime (NPVC), Germiston Hawks’ Crimes Against the State (CATS), Germiston Bomb Disposal and the Westrand Trio Task Team of the South African Police Service.

The suspects, driving a BMW with blue lights, forcibly intercepted a Toyota double cab bakkie and hijacked it, in Bekkersdal area on 23 November 2023. Inside the vehicle was a Troxler soil density gauge, containing hazardous substance. The gauge contains a radio-active source and poses a severe threat to human health if leakage occurs. The hijacked vehicle was later found stripped, in Soweto soon after the incident, but the soil density gauge remained missing.

A thorough investigation by the joint police team ensued when the suspects attempted to sell it. They were arrested in possession of the Troxler soil density gauge. The vehicle used in the commission of crime was seized along with the radio-active device.
The recovered Troxler soil density gauge valued at R310,000, was declared safe by the Germiston Bomb Disposal unit, confirming no leakage or damage to the radio-active source. It was subsequently returned to its lawful owner with the presentation of an ownership certificate.

The National Head of the Hawks, (Dr/Adv) Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya (SOEG) welcomed the arrest and the recovery of a radio-active device and said “this highlights the commitment of law enforcement agencies to combat crime and ensure public safety”. He also appealed to individuals and organisations to remain vigilant against criminal activities involving hazardous substances. He further urged the community to report suspicious activities to law enforcement agencies.

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