Four injured in foiled cash in transit heist
Rustenburg – Approximately 18:00 on the evening of Thursday 9 May, three police officers, one security official, and a bystander were injured during a cash in transit (CIT) heist.
According to captain Tlangelani Rikhotso, spokesperson for the Hawks, the incident started in Watsonia Avenue. It is alleged that the armoured vehicle was rammed off the road by a blue Peugeot and subsequently laced with explosives while the security officers were still inside.
At that stage, police members on patrol responded to the scene and a shootout with the heavily armed gunmen ensued which led to the suspects abandoning the robbery and fleeing the scene empty-handed in three vehicles: two bakkies and a sedan.
While fleeing the scene, the heist men came across a marked police vehicle in Bethlehem street and opened fire at the vehicle, which resulted in three police members sustaining injuries.
Two of the members are reported to be in a stable condition, while the third member had to be airlifted to a hospital in Johannesburg, and is in a critical condition. The three injured members are attached to the Division Operational Response Services in Pretoria.
It was discovered that a member of the community, a 62-year old woman, was struck by a stray bullet. One of the security officers on scene also sustained injuries during the heist.
In an interview with Platinum Weekly, a bystander who was at the action-netball courts at Rustenburg Actions Sports, located close to the crime scene, said: “When I heard the first shots, I thought that it was someone playing with a paintball gun. After the first bomb blast and the second barrage of heavy gunfire I realised that something is terribly wrong…
My first thought was to make sure that the children were safe, so I immediately got all of them flocked together. I sheltered them in a safe spot behind a counter. Other people in the area rushed to our arena to get to a place of safety. It was terrifying, I tried to remain calm but hearing the gunshots over and over again was an awful experience. My heart goes out to those who were injured during the shootout.”
A representative of Rustenburg Action Sports, who was also at the arena during the shootout, said:
“We heard the shots and the moment we realised what was going on, the safety of the people on the premises was our number one priority. We immediately locked all the doors and ushered everyone away from all the windows and doors.
Luckily there were no injuries or damages reported at the Rustenburg Action Sports. Thank you to all our players who assisted and our staff who kept calm.”
National commissioner of the South African Police Service, general Khehla John Sitole said:
“The attack on police and law-abiding citizens of this country has to be strongly condemned. These members, the security officer and a community member were ambushed by criminals who have no regard for human life.
We as the police, together with the community, have to continue working together to combat lawlessness and crimes that serve to instil fear in our country.”
He went on to commend the bravery of the security officers and police that managed to stand their ground and foil the robbery.
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