Southgate: Guards foil heist, shoot two would-be robbers

2008-08-18 00:00

Members of the public ran for cover at the Southgate Shopping Centre yesterday morning during a shoot-out between security guards and robbers.

Group 4 security guards foiled the robbery attempt, shooting and injuring some of the would-be robbers.

One suspect was later found dead in the getaway car. Another injured suspect was abandoned by his colleagues, who fled empty-handed.

The incident occurred at about 8.20 am as guards from a cash-in-transit security company were collecting the weekend’s takings from the Total service station at the shopping complex.

Two of the guards watching and “securing the vicinity” saw a white VW Jetta approaching with four occupants.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said one of the guards became suspicious when he noticed that two of the four occupants were wearing balaclavas.

“As the vehicle came to a halt the occupants alighted and produced firearms.

“An exchange of fire then took place between the guards and the occupants of the vehicle …” he explained.

An eyewitness, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisal, related the events to The Witness.

“I heard a car screeching to a halt, and suddenly three men came out.

Two of the men had pistols, while the other one had a big gun, which I suspect was an R1 rifle,” he said.

“Then there were gunshots, everybody ran for cover. It all happened so fast.”

A petrol attendant, who also wished to remain anonymous, said that as the robbers retreated, the driver of the getaway car made a U-turn at the bottom of the parking area and returned for his three accomplices.

Only two of the men managed to get into the car.

“The one robber was injured and lying on the floor, while the other one who had been shot in the leg was dragged into the car [by the other robber] and they sped away, leaving the other guy behind.”

Two 9 mm pistols and a bag, believed to have been carried by the robbers, were left abandoned at the scene. Police also found several spent 9 mm cartridges.

Budhram said the wounded suspect who escaped was later found dead in the car at Corbett Place in Westgate. The other suspects had fled.

Budhram said the wounded suspect was taken to hospital under police guard and that investigations are continuing.

bmbanjwa@witness.co.za

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