Police are closing the net around the 15 to 20 armed robbers behind a cash-in-transit (CIT) heist that took place over the weekend after finding firearms and ammunition they believe could be linked to the robbery.
The robbery happened on the N12 highway in the Mondeor area in Johannesburg on Saturday morning, police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe said.
After the heist, a woman driving a BMW was hijacked and forced to drive the robbers towards Soweto. They stopped near Diepkloof and the robbers got into getaway vehicles.
Four security guards were injured during the robbery, with one shot and the others injured when the cash van was overturned and bombed.
CIT scenes are dangerous and can pose a risk to life as explosives are often used to blow up these cash vans.
In response, police activated air support and a multidisciplinary team to search for the robbers, who fled with an undisclosed amount of money.
The team descended on a property in Mapetla, Soweto, where they forced open a backroom and found two rifles, including an AK-47, magazines and 71 rounds of ammunition. The weapons have been seized and will be taken for ballistics testing to determine if they are linked to any crimes.
“During the search-and-seize operation, balaclavas, handcuffs, beanies, protective shoes as well as cash receipt slips of bank deposits were also seized,” said Mathe.
During the heist, scores of people abandoned their cars and rushed towards the blast site to grab money moments after gunmen bombed the CIT truck.
Footage of the incident shows a burning cash truck with people running down an embankment to the scene.
The armoured car is understood to have been forced to a halt by several vehicles. Once stationary, gunmen laid explosive charges and blew open the safe.
Saturday’s heist came after a bloody week for CIT companies.
Three robberies took place in KwaZulu-Natal in three days, ending in a deadly shootout with police on Friday.
Hours after a robbery, police were led to a “haven” in KwaMashu where the suspected robbers opened fire and four of them were killed in the resulting shootout.
Also last week, two people were killed in a CIT heist in Tsolo in the Eastern Cape – one of them a driver caught in the crossfire between security guards and robbers.
Mathe said the robbers threw explosives at the armoured vehicle, which caused it to overturn and catch fire.
Back-up security guards arrived on the scene, leading to a shootout.
One suspected robber was killed.
News24 previously reported that statistics from the Cash-In-Transit Association of SA revealed the industry had seen 217 CIT robberies across the country between January and August, compared with 191 in 2022 and 188 in 2021.
More than half of CIT robberies this year were directed at armoured vehicles, and around one-third of all robberies took place in Gauteng.
Source : News24