Meet the ’wealthy’ pair of brothers allegedly behind a spate of armed robberies in Durban
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DURBAN - Brothers Yaseen and Ridwaan Walljee, of Reservoir Hills, in Durban, do not fit the typical profile of armed robbers.
By all accounts, the 19 and 25-year-old come from an ordinary upper-middle-class background. Both their parents are business owners and their social media accounts show them driving high end BMW’s, and enjoying life to the fullest.
But detectives in Durban believe the pair are behind a spate of armed robberies across Durban, targeting couples, lone women, and other hapless victims, for their high end cellphones.
“The shocking thing is that they are wealthy. They live in a nice house and there was no reason for them to be doing this,” a police source told IOL.
On Friday, the pair appeared in the Durban Magistrate's Court, on two counts of armed robbery, that occurred in the Bluff.
In both incidents, the pair are alleged to have held up their victims with a handgun, before speeding off in their BMW with the phones.
In one incident, a young woman, who was in a car with her male companion, had her iPhone taken from her while, in the second incident, a group of high school pupils were robbed of their cellphones.
During the brothers’ bail application on Friday, police asked the court for a seven-day remand for further investigations, as they believe the pair are linked to several other cases around Durban – and not just the two registered at the Brighton Beach Police Station.
According to a police source, who spoke to IOL on condition of anonymity as he is not allowed to speak to the media, detectives believe the Walljee brothers are behind a spate of armed robberies across the city.
“Not only were they into cellphone robberies, but its believed they held up several shops belonging to foreigners. In these cases, they took cash and cigarettes. They also seemed to be recruiting other people to be part of their robberies, as we believe that one crew did business robberies and the other crew did cellphone robberies,” he said.
Asked why the pair were targeting high end phones, that could only be unlocked by its owner – either through face or fingerprint technology – the police source said: “The parts of these phones are very valuable on the black market. So while one may not be able to use the phone as a whole, its parts, the camera, the back cover, and the screen are valuable to those businesses that fix phones”.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said Yaseen and Ridwaan were arrested by Brighton Beach Detectives, assisted by the Provincial Organised Crime Investigations (Narcotics), Crime Intelligence, and metro police, who carried out an intelligence driven operation on Wednesday night.
“The team was searching for suspects that were wanted for robbery cases that were committed in the Brighton Beach area. They proceeded to Reservoir Hills, where two men, aged 19 and 25, were found on the premises and were placed under arrest. Two firearms and a vehicle, suspected to be used in the commission of the crimes, was seized by police,” Mbele said.
“The two suspects are linked to two cases of robbery that occurred in the Brighton Beach policing area last month and this month. It is alleged that two people were robbed of their cellphones and belongings. The suspects will be profiled to check if they are linked to other robbery cases committed in the province,” she said.