ATM withdrawn after blast

2008-02-04 00:00

Another ATM facility was lost to a township community after it was blown up yesterday morning.

Bombers blasted open an Absa ATM at the Wallers Caltex garage in Hammarsdale.

Garage owner Clayton Bester said it was the third time there has been an ATM robbery at his garage and he will never have another machine on his premises.

In 2006, an ATM was stolen from the garage. It was replaced, only to be stolen again the following year.

“I just told the bank that I don’t want it [the ATM] anymore. I am worried that my staff members might be injured and even die during one of these bombings,” said Bester. He added that while an ATM is a convenient facility for his customers, the risk is too high.

The Mpumalanga township has now joined other communities that have been deprived of the convenience of an ATM during an ongoing bombing campaign. Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said the bombing happened at 2 am yesterday.

“The security guard on duty at the garage noticed two vehicles parked on the opposite side of the garage and immediately thereafter saw two men walk towards the ATM.

“He assumed that they were going to make use of the ATM, but after a short while … he heard three explosions.”

Budhram said the guard saw the men carrying a bag and running towards the vehicles. They jumped into the vehicles and fled the scene.

The security guard discovered that the ATM had been blown up and immediately contacted the police. An undisclosed amount of cash was stolen.

Budhram said the ATM was extensively damaged, apparently by commercial explosives. No arrests have been made. Service at the garage closes at 10.30 pm daily, but the ATM was open 24 hours a day.

sandilez@witness.co.za

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