Guards shot at, vans bombed
Robbers bombed G4S vans and shot at the guards during a cash-in-transit heist on Atlas Road in Boksburg, East Rand, yesterday. In the chase that ensued, leading to the closure of the M2 highway, police raided the George Goch Hostel, in Joburg, and nabbed several suspects believed to have been part of the gang.
First it was the bullet cartridges littering the road.
Then concerns about the possibility of undetonated explosives forced police to expand the size of the crime scene where a dramatic cashin-transit heist took place in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni, yesterday.
The smoke from the explosions that ripped apart the G4S cash vans had dissipated‚ the indiscriminate gunshots had ceased, and a movie-like scene greeted curious bystanders in Atlas Road.
Behind the second damaged cash van was an abandoned construction truck which had somehow ended up in the crossfire as guards exchanged gunfire with the robbers.
The cash vans were targeted at 9.30am by several gunmen travelling in an SUV and other vehicles and wielding assault rifles. About 10 suspects exchanged fire with the G4S guards‚ and two of the four guards were injured‚ while some motorists recorded the shootout on video.
Police chased the suspects‚ who appeared to have pulled off the heist with military precision‚ using a helicopter to pursue them. Some of the gang were cornered and captured at George Goch Hostel in Johannesburg.
At the scene banknotes flew about in the wind prompting forensic investigators to collect the scattering cash.
Some young men managed to sneak onto the crime scene but police immediately stopped and searched them and recovered some cash.
The bomb squad poured over the scene. As the drama continued‚ one of the G4S guards sat on the ground looking totally disoriented. Officials from his company kept speaking to him, but the traumatised man simply sat there with his legs stretched out and his hands on his lap.
Police closed the M2 West towards the Johannesburg CBD for hours as they tried to contain all roads leading to the hostel. At the entrance to the hostel the sound of mbaqanga and maskandi music could be heard.
Next to the security gate was a group of men having the usual beef braai.
“They came in with lot of cars‚ got some people and left‚” said one of the residents‚ describing how police had swooped on the fleeing gang.
Police spokesman Captain Mavela Masondo said cash-intransit heists were becoming a serious problem for the police in Gauteng.
“It is a worry for us as the police with the number of cash-in-transit heists that we are encountering these days. But we’ve got measures in place [to deal with them].
“Now that we have arrested these ones‚ it is a breakthrough,” said Masondo.
Police have arrested five suspects‚ recovered a suspected getaway vehicle and a rifle. Eight people were injured. –
The messy crime scene on Atlas Road in Boksburg where two cash-in-transit vans were bombed by men travelling in an SUV and other vehicles and wielding assault rifles yesterday.