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BPS nab mastermind behind Goodhope police station robbery

Thato-Gaopatwe

Botswana Police Service (BPS) has made a breakthrough in a case which riled law enforcement agencies and Batswana the last several weeks. Police say they have identified 30-year-old, Thato Gaopatwe, as the mastermind behind the attack and theft of arms and ammunition at Goodhope police station early this month.

Gaopatwe is regarded as one of the most dangerous career criminals in Botswana specialising in cash in transit (CIT) heists and armed robberies between Botswana and South Africa. Highly placed sources within the intelligence circles have tipped this publication that some highly ranked law enforcement personnel in South Africa are under investigation following suspicion that they acted in concert with Gaopatwe.

It is understood that Goapatwe is so experienced that while in custody, he planned and brought together highly skilled criminals from Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa to stage robberies. It is understood that Gaopatwe often has communication gadgets within his cell without the knowledge of the prison officials.

This publication understands that some of the stolen arms and ammunition are suspected to have been smuggled  into South Africa where they are believed to have been used to gun down about 16 people in one of the taverns in Soweto a few days ago.

Detective senior commissioner of Criminal Intelligence Bureau (CRIB), Nunu Lesetedi, confirmed to Weekend Post in an interview that one of the most wanted criminals in Botswana has been fingered as the mastermind behind the Goodhope police station robbery.

“Our preliminary investigations have revealed that Gaopatwe is the mastermind of the whole mission,” he says. He said police investigations have intensified in-search of the stolen arms and ammunition through the assistance of the South African authorities. “At the moment, the main suspect is in custody in South Africa after he was allegedly involved in a series of criminal activities in that country,” he said.

“What worried and shocked us as the law enforcement agencies between Botswana and South Africa is the fact that the poor guy is able to arrange and plan a criminal activity while behind bars and such plans are executed exactly how he planned it.

Who is assisting him? he asked.

He said the recent heists and attempts that have been taking place here in Botswana are masterminded by Gaopatwe. He stated that once he completes his prison sentence in South Africa he will be extradited to Botswana where he is highly wanted and accused of a series of criminal activities across the country.

Already two suspects have been arrested in connection with the Goodhope police station incident where four unidentified men attacked and robbed the station. Two female police officers were allegedly on duty during the attack.

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