Joburg man hands over 298 firearms to police
"The members became curious to know what it was and at that moment, the children ran away," police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said in a statement.
"Upon checking the item, they realised that what they thought was a toy gun, was actually a real gun."
He said the officers checked with the station which verified that the firearm, a 6.35mm Beretta, was stolen from a housebreaking incident which took place last September at Bloemspruit in the Free State.
Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma said he was perturbed by the proliferation of firearms in the province.
"I strongly urge the public to report those possessing firearms illegally to prevent unnecessary loss of lives," said Zuma.
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In an unrelated incident, in February, police in Barberton attended to an incident where an 18-year-old boy was shot dead.
According to the report, the victim was with a group of friends next to a cemetery and one of them, an 18-year-old boy also, had a firearm in his possession.
"The firearm allegedly went off and hit the victim on the upper body. Police were then notified about the incident, drove to the scene with medical personnel. Unfortunately, the young man was certified dead," said Hlathi.
When the police investigated the case, it was uncovered that the firearm was stolen from a police officer during a hijacking incident at Masoyi in January 2019.