Robbery goes haywire

2014-10-08 00:00

AN entire neighbourhood was brought to a standstill — with bomb technicians carefully disarming a package of high explosives at a petrol station in Pinetown yesterday.

The explosives had been carefully laid around the drop safe at the Caltex Service Station in Ashley, before the botched robbery came unstuck in a bizarre comedy of errors.

Sources told of how an unarmed security guard, who twice bravely warded off the gang of bombers, neglected to report a literally ticking time-bomb set at the petrol station.

At 2 am, the first explosion roused a sleeping security guard, who emerged wide-eyed from his hut and chased the bombers away.

Without reporting the potentially catastrophic explosion, the guard went back to sleep and the bombers returned.

They had a second attempt at cracking the safe, after their first detonation had failed to open the strong box.

After they were rebuffed a second time, their cache of high explosives which had been set at the petrol station sat for hours before they were finally discovered.

According to well-placed police sources, who could not be named as they are not authorised to speak to the press, a group of robbers had stormed the petrol station in the early hours of the morning in a bizarre chain of events.

“The gang had laid charges around the drop safe at the garage while the guard was asleep in his hut and they detonated, which woke him up. He emerged and chased them and they fled on foot into the bush nearby,” a source said.

“The bomb was only discovered in the morning when the new shift came in. The police were called and the scene was properly managed from then. It could have had disastrous consequences,” the sources added.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said that a case of malicious damage to property had been opened and would be investigated.

Last month in a similar attack, a gang of robbers struck at the heart of Durban’s party district with a successful safe bombing at Holden’s Spar.

The heist saw robbers forcing their way into the store, which is a pillar of the Florida Road entertainment precinct, and successfully blow up an ATM and a safe in the early hours of the morning.

The heist bore hallmarks of a professional syndicate, from the manner in which they gained access to the locked shop by night.

They had purportedly scaled the roof and broken through the ceiling, after disconnecting the alarm system, which would have scuppered their raid.

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