Heist drama at PMB garage

2008-04-01 00:00

AN Edendale BP service station was robbed of an undisclosed amount of cash when a brazen heist gang descended on it, firing shots, yesterday morning.

Staff and customers at the garage ducked for cover as the gang of robbers, armed heavily with automatic rifles and handguns, made a dramatic entry, shooting at the Fidelity Guard vehicle.

A Fidelity security guard was forced to abandon an unsecured cash box inside the opened drop safe, which the robbers then seized.

Service station owner Ambrose Sokhela watched helplessly as the robbery unfolded in front of him.

He told The Witness that “it was business as usual”, when the cashier told him the cash van was approaching.

“I was in my office and the cashier told me the Fidelity vehicle had arrived and I saw it on the CCTV monitor as it parked next to the safe.

“I came out of my office and was looking through the window when suddenly a bakkie with a group of people on the back pulled in front of the security vehicle.”

Unaware that a robbery was on the brink of happening, Sokhela was about to go out and confront the bakkie driver when the drama took another turn.

“Immediately, they jumped off from the back with guns in hand.”

One of the guards had just opened the safe and unlocked the money box when the robbers pounced.

Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said the guard saw the men approaching and fled.

“He immediately fled the scene back into the security vehicle, leaving the safe unlocked. The robbers opened fire on the security vehicle, hitting the vehicle several times.”

Two other vehicles appeared and more armed men emerged. “They removed the cash box from the safe and fled.”

It is believed that the gang had been waiting for the cash vehicle to arrive before they attacked.

No one was injured during the shooting.

Police found several 9 mm, AK 47, R1 and R4 cartridges. The vehicles used for the heist were a red Toyota Conquest, a white Mazda bakkie and a blue Ford Courier, which was used as the getaway vehicle. The Mazda bakkie was later found abandoned in nearby Dambuza.

sandilez@witness.co.za

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