Cash heist gang kill police

2008-11-10 00:00

TWO police officers were shot dead and two others seriously wounded when they were ambushed by a gang of about 15 robbers during a cash-in-transit heist in Maphumulo near kwaDukuza on the KZN north coast yesterday morning.

Heavily-armed Fidelity Guards security officers and policemen were robbed of nine firearms, including 9mm pistols, R5 rifles and shotguns.

The two officers died at the scene of the robbery, while those who were wounded were taken to hospitals in Ballito and Mhlanga in Durban. The wounded officers were reported to be in a stable condition at the time of writing. None of the robbers, the six guards or three female employees of Cash Paymaster Service (CPS) — who were threatened at gunpoint — was injured.

“It seems that R5s and nine-millimetres were used to commit the robbery. We still have to get more information [from the security guards and CPS employees] of how this robbery took place,” said Superintendent Willie Olivier of the SAPS Durban organised crime unit.

Police spokesman Superintendent Muzi Mngomezulu said the robbers got away with five boxes of cash. He said one of the wounded police officers was shot in the hand while another one was shot in the arm and hand.

The convoy — a Fidelity Guard truck with cash, CPS Toyota Venture vehicle and SAPS Toyota Quantum minibus — was travelling from Maphumulo police station to Ezikhulile Store pension paypoint in Emafahleni area outside Maphumulo at about 8 am.

The convoy was ambushed on a dirt road between Maphumulo and Tongaat.

Olivier said a Ford bakkie drove past the Fidelity Guards and CPS vehicles, and opened fire on the four officers in the Toyota Quantum.

When The Witness team arrived at the scene, the body of one of the officers was lying next to the shattered vehicle. The second officer died about an hour later as paramedics worked on him in an ambulance.

The driver of the Fidelity Guard truck, Bheki Mfusi (31), told The Witness that soon after the Ford bakkie had passed, a white Nissan vehicle followed it.

“The Nissan tried to push me off the road, but I managed to avoid it. After it drove past, I looked in the mirror and saw that its occupants had big guns with them. I alerted two colleagues who were sitting in the front seat with me,” said Mfusi, who was still visibly shaken at about 1 pm.

Mfusi said all the guards in the Fidelity truck were armed, but he was not sure why they did not use their weapons. He said that as one of the guards in the front was alerting those in the back, he saw the Nissan making a U-turn.

“As I was trying to speed up to escape, the Nissan overtook me and blocked my way. Within a second someone was trying to force open the driver’s door and I pulled it back. As we were struggling over the door, he pushed a rifle in and pressed it against my stomach and ordered me to open,” said Mfusi.

He said his two colleagues who were in the front had moved to the back part of the truck, where boxes of cash were kept.

“They ordered me to open the back, but I couldn’t as my colleagues had already locked themselves in. A third vehicle came with three CPS women held up at gunpoint. They placed guns to the women’s heads and threatened to shoot them. The women pleaded with my colleagues to open,” said Mfusi.

Mfusi said as soon as the back door was opened the robbers pushed him into the back of the truck and ordered them all to lie down. They were all robbed of their firearms and cellphones and the robbers took the cash boxes.

The robbers abandoned the Ford and escaped in two other vehicles, including another white bakkie.

Mngomezulu said no arrests were made yesterday, and urged anyone with information to go to a police station or call the toll-free Crime Stop number at 0860 0210 111.

bhans@witness.co.za

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