Paramedics held hostage after responding to fake emergency, ambulance stripped of parts
Medical personnel were reportedly held hostage by a group of suspects on the evening of Sunday, 15 May 2022, at Belfast on the Spitzkop Road in Mpumalanga, after they responded to an emergency call. Little did the medical staff know that this was an orchestrated robbery. According to police, seven people hatched a plan to pretend that a woman was in labour on a farm in Spitzkop Road, Belfast and that she needed medical care. A Volkswagen Crafter ambulance was dispatched in response to the call for help, Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said.
The ambulance they were using was stripped of its engine, gearbox, battery and tyres.
"At around 21h30, it is said that a follow-up call was received by the paramedics, whereby the caller requested to meet with the medical staff at a certain spot for...directions to the scene. Little did the medical staff know that this was an orchestrated robbery," Mohlala added.
When the ambulance arrived at the spot, two men emerged. They were wearing balaclavas. "The suspects allegedly held them hostage and took their cell phones from them, before they tied them up with cable ties, but kept [them] inside the ambulance," Mohlala said.
Mohlala added, “The ambulance was reportedly driven to another place where five more suspects were noticed.”
According to Mohlala, the estimated value of the parts that were stolen was about R300 000. "These motor parts were then loaded into another vehicle and surprisingly, the suspects gave the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel the cellphones taken earlier, before they left the scene. The victims later managed to alert their supervisor and directed them [to] the location where they were," Mohlala added.
The paramedics were rescued and the incident was reported to Belfast Police.
A robbery case was opened and a manhunt for the perpetrators has since been launched.
Provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Manamela said, "As law enforcement officers, we will not allow a situation like this, whereby emergency workers will be hindered to carry out their duties by criminals. We will do all in our power to bring them to book and they cannot escape the arm of the law."
Sources: News 24, Arrive Alive