KOTA KINABALU - A group of underage school dropouts were among 15 people arrested over a series of robberies at 24-hour convenience stores in Penampang and the city.
According to OCPD Asst Comm M. Chandra, the suspects - 13 teenagers and two adults - were nabbed at separate locations on Sunday after the arrest of seven suspected robbers following a 45-minute chase around the city.
Police sent out patrol vehicles to track down the suspects' car after receiving a call at about 5.50am from a cashier believed to have been robbed earlier that day, he said during a press conference here yesterday.
"Not long after, we noticed the vehicle, a maroon Proton Wira, at Signal Hill near the state capital and approached it," he said.
However, the driver drove off and refused to stop even after warnings from the police, he said, adding that the suspects made off with RM38 and 48 packets of chocolates.
ACP Chandra said the seven people, aged between 15 and 18, were arrested after a high-speed chase that ended after the vehicle crashed into a drain at Taman BDC Kolombong.
A 17-year-old boy, believed to be the mastermind and driver, as well as four girls were among those arrested, he said, adding that the car belonged to the boy's father.
Further investigations led to the arrest of six more suspects aged between 15 and 28 at the Api-Api centre in the city, he said.
ACP Chandra said police nabbed two more boys, aged 17 and 19, after that.
"We believe the teenagers and the two adults are involved in at least four robberies around Penampang and the city," he added.
He said two of the suspects would enter a store pretending to be customers, after which they would rob the cashier at knifepoint.
Of the 15 people detained, 12 were school dropouts, one was in Form Four and the two adults were jobless.
Apart from armed robbery, police would investigate some of them for reckless driving and driving without a licence under the Road Transport Act, ACP Chandra said.