Mount Nelson robbers caught in Claremont

Five men who allegedly robbed the Mount Nelson Hotel were caught in Claremont.

Police have arrested five men believed to be involved in the robbery at the Mount Nelson Hotel, in Orange Street.

On Tuesday July 16, 15 gunmen wearing balaclavas in two cars – a white Toyota and a VW Polo – entered the hotel after threatening the security guard at the front gate and removing his baton.

Staff and guests at the hotel were held at gunpoint, and the men stole jewellery and money before fleeing in the same cars.

Cape Town Central police spokesperson, Captain Ezra October, said on Wednesday morning, a VW Polo and a Toyota Avanza had been pulled over in Claremont. He said the cars’ registration numbers had been flagged by licence plate recognition cameras in Claremont, and subsequently found to not match the cars.

Colonel Maree Louw from Claremont police said the vehicles had been flagged while driving around Cavendish Square.

“The suspects sped off in their vehicles and the police gave chase,” said Colonel Louw.

She said the Toyota Avanza was stopped and four men were arrested while another man in a VW Polo stopped his vehicle and tried to run.

“He also threw the firearm he had away but he was caught by police and the firearm was retrieved,” she said. “Police tested the Avanza registration number and it came out that it was a false number plate belonging to a stolen Toyota Conquest that was used in several robbery cases at several places.

A crowbar, two 10-pound hammers, a firearm and a gas gun, which resembles a 9mm firearm, were found in the Toyota Avanza.

The men in the VW Polo managed to escape, however, one man jumped out with a firearm, but was arrested. The men will face charges of armed robbery and police are working to link them to other robberies.

Clare Ambrosino, spokesperson for the Mount Nelson Hotel, said no one had been hurt during the robbery, and that the Mount Nelson had “robust” security arrangements in place across its global portfolio, which is reviewed regularly. She did not answer questions about increasing security at the hotel.

Enver Duminy of Cape Town Tourism said they joined other organisations in condemning the robbery. He said robberies which affected the tourism industry were of serious concern.

“Working with other organisations in the city, Cape Town Tourism has implemented support initiatives to assist the tourists and hotel staff (of the Mount Nelson) affected by these crimes, and we will continue to remain engaged for as long as help is needed,” he said.