Wife tied to arms cache plot

Police apprehend a suspect at the Zevenwacht Mall last week following the discovery of an arms cache in the parking lot.

The wife of convicted murderer George “Geweld” Thomas has been drawn into the investigation of the two men arrested on Thursday on illegal weapons charges.

An anonymous tip led the Kuils River police to the arrest of Ashley Snyders, 25, and Randall Stander, 28, who were in possession of a cache of military arms and explosives in the parking lot of Zevenwacht Mall in Kuils River on Wednesday afternoon, August 10. Kuils River police also confiscated an RPG7 rocket launcher during the arrest.

While the police have not arrested her, Shamiela Thomas will be included in the investigation because, according to information given to the police, the car driven by the two suspects is registered in her name, Kuils River police station commander, Colonel Pieter Gallant, said. The Daily Voice reported on Monday August 22 that she denied the link.

Mr Thomas was convicted of seven murders and a litany of other charges for crimes committed between 2006 and 2010. He was given seven life sentences.

Colonel Gallant told the Northern News that police have not ruled out that the weapons could have been stolen from the SA Navy’s armament depot in Simon’s Town last month.

He said he understands that one or both of the suspects are from Bishop Lavis.

Colonel Gallant said the operation had been led by the crime intelligence unit, with the help of several other police units. He believes the two could have been dealing the guns in the parking lot, where they were spotted by the police before the arrest.

He said there is limited information available because the investigation is still ongoing.

Two minibuses, packed with cops, blocked a white Toyota driven by the two suspects at one of the exit gates at the mall.

Traffic was also diverted from the scene until the scene was cleared

Police spokeswoman, Constable Noloyiso Rwexana, said Mr Snyders and Mr Stander face charges of possession of illegal armament. The Cape Times reported on Friday that the two suspects were members of the 28s gang and that the two men will also face charges of contravening the Explosives Act, but Constable Rwexana could not verify this information.

A crime intelligence official has also been reported as saying criminals in the city are believed to be stockpiling heavy weapons as a show of force to their rivals.

The official said the weapons recovered were the same as those used in cross-border wars before 1994.

The suspects appeared at the Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court on Friday August 19. Their next court appearance is this Friday August 26 when they are expected to apply for bail.

Tamryn Whitton, spokeswoman for Zevenwacht Mall, said they did not wish to respond to queries about the robbery and security-related questions about the mall.

She later said the robbery had taken place outside the mall and mall management would reserve comment for now because the incident is under police investigation.

Northern News sent queries to Eric Ntabazalila, spokesperson for the National Prosecution Authority, on Friday August 19. Yesterday (August 23) he said he was out of town and could not respond to queries.

BLOB: Three suspects driving a Ford Figo were arrested on Frans Conradie Drive on Thursday August 18 after a high speed chase, Constable Rwexana said. The three men were busted with two unlicensed firearms and an undisclosed amount of cash.

They had allegedly also robbed a business in Stork Street in Okovango Industria just before 5pm on Thursday.

Constable Rweaxana said the car had been stolen in Lansdowne during a robbery.