COR­NERED, AR­RESTED WITH­OUT A FIGHT

African Times - - Front Page - MASHUDU SADIKE

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.

Photo Le­bo­gang Mak­wela / Vis­ual Buzz SA

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

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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...

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