CORNERED, ARRESTED WITHOUT A FIGHT
Hawks arrest seven suspects in connection with Limpopo cash heist
Alleged robbers picked up in separate locations without fighting back
SBV van robbed of undisclosed amount of money in Polokwane
THE seven cash in transit heist suspects who have been arrested in Limpopo this week neither put up a fight nor fired a single shot at the police after being cornered in separate locations, the Hawks says.
Spokesperson Matimba Maluleke says four of the men were picked up in Groblersdal and three in Seshego Township outside Polokwane -- within 12 hours of allegedly robbing an SBV vehicle on the Matlala road outside the city on Monday morning.
A gang of robbers had ambushed the cash delivery van, sprayed its wheels with bullets, blew it open with explosives and dashed off with undisclosed amount of money.
The suspects held the security officer at gunpoint and used explosives to blast open the safe before fleeing the scene. One of the security guards has been injured and is recovering in hospital.
The road was closed for several hours as police combed the area for clue on the whereabouts of the suspects, and their motive for carrying out the seventh cash in transit heist in country in the space of a week.
“They were cornered unexpectedly. They surrendered themselves. They didn’t fight back. That’s why there was no shootout,” Maluleke says.
“In terms of the money, we didn’t recover it. It was only those suspected stolen cars, ammunition, and cartridges of course.”
He would not say whether or not the suspects managed to hide their loot or their accomplices fled with it.
“That issue will be revealed by the investigation. We cannot say they have hidden the money or other possible suspects fled with the money. We would be speculating,” he added.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Hawks credited “swift action” by a multidisciplinary team led by its Serious Organised Crime Investigation Unit - supported by the Provincial Task Team, Crime Intelligence and Tactical Response Team - for the breakthrough.
The team was put together by Limpopo Provincial Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Nneke Ledwaba hours after the robbery took place at around 05:30 on Monday, about 15 kilometres from the Polokwane CBD.
“On Monday an unknown group of suspects ambushed a cash delivery truck on the Matlala road, just outside Polokwane and made off with an undisclosed amount of money. A manhunt ensued immediately and seven suspects aged between 24 and 49 have been rounded up since yesterday and early this morning in different parts of the province. During the operation members recovered two stolen vehicles with false registration plates, ammunition, cartridges, money bags and explosives,” said the statement.
Maluleke says one of the suspects was nabbed at his house in Madiba Park.
“It is a house for dwelling, because there were children as well there to show it’s a house. They live there. In Groblersdal we picked up four and in Polokwane three. Remember we didn’t find them in one house. That’s why we said Seshego area,” he said.
During the arrests, the authorities also recovered two stolen vehicles: a Ford Kuga and a Toyota double Cab with false registration plates.The Hawks suspect that the vehicles used in the robbery had been stolen in Gauteng.
Maluleke says all the suspects are expected to appear before the Polokwane Magistrate Court on Wednesday on charges of robbery, possession of suspected stolen motor vehicles, and unlawful possession of ammunition and explosives.
He added that the strong task team that was established after the cash-in transit was a team of dedicated and committed members and that authorities were confident that they would make more arrests and recover the money.
Experts say the spate of cash in transit heists points to a possible inside job with some of the guards, who are unhappy with their low salaries, giving information to the unscrupulous robbers about the times and routes that are being used by cash delivery vans.
While the Limpopo robbery is among the latest cash-in-transit heists to hit the country in recent weeks, several other robberies have taken place mainly in Gauteng.
A security guard has been shot and wounded during an attack on a cash van in Centurion near Pretoria on Monday afternoon.
Other robberies have taken place in areas such as Boksburg and the N3 High Way near Edenvale in Gauteng, among others. Undisclosed amounts of money were stolen in the process. This has led to the security companies’ personnel threatening to strike on June 11 unless something was done to curb the situation.
It’s understood that at least four gunmen ambushed the van as it arrived to collect money at the Celtisdal Shopping Centre. Experts believe most of the heists are the results of collusion between armed robbers and security guards responsible for transporting the money.
There have been dozens of cash heists across the country since the beginning of the year, costing the industry millions of rands and causing injuries and damage to property.
Over the weekend a cashin-transit van was hit on the R38 between Barberton and Badplaas in Mpumalanga where suspects escaped with an undisclosed amount of money
In Boksburg on the Gauteng East Rand, five men were arrested while others escaped following attacks on two cash delivery vans a few hundred metres from each other. At least R1.5 million was later recovered at a house in Tsakane Township.
On the same day, Southdale Mall near Johannesburg CBD was attacked and robbed of undisclosed some of money.
On May 21, a woman was shot in Jabulani, Soweto, where men escaped with an undisclosed amount of money.
On the May 4, 10 men robbed a Fidelity van and made off with an undisclosed sum of money.
There was an attempted robbery on Fidelity N3 south of Johannesburg.
CRIME SCENE: An armed gang blew an SBV cash transporting van on the Matlala road outside Polokwane, injuring a secuity guard before fleeing with an undisclosed amount of money
These are the Heist that happened only in May. Boksburg, Gauteng May 17 Heuweloord, Centurion May 28 Jabulani Mall, Soweto May 21 N3 south near Marlboro, Johannesburg May 23 Polokwane, Limpopo May 21 Polokwane, Limpopo May 28 R38 road, Barberton and...