ATM bombers escape cashless

2015-11-04 06:00
Two of the security vehicles that were hijacked by the suspects.  Photo: JYOTHI LALDAS

Two of the security vehicles that were hijacked by the suspects. Photo: JYOTHI LALDAS

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A GANG of heavily armed ATM bombers escaped empty-handed after they set off an explosive at the Standard Bank ATMs on King Shaka Street at around 2am last Wednesday morning.

A KwaDukuza policewoman, who responded to the call, was seriously injured in a hail of bullets fired by the suspects as they fled the scene.

According to security officers who responded to the incident, the suspects were apparently armed with high-calibre assault rifles.
It is believed that the suspects were unable to detonate the explosive charges in the ATM gallery itself and only managed to detonate one explosive device placed on the outside of the bank on a metal door.

KZN SAPS confirmed that the suspects were unable to access any cash. Police sources confirmed that the explosives were left in the gallery and had to be removed by police bomb technicians. The scene was abuzz with activity on Wednesday morning, with forensic investigators combing the ATM hall for evidence. The road was also closed for most of the morning.
According to a local security company director, the suspects hijacked security personnel from various different security companies including his.

The men hijacked Ultimate 4 Security, K9 Security, G4S, Chubb and Eagle Eye Security vehicles that were patrolling the CBD and used these to conduct their own surveillance.
It is believed that the suspects stripped the guards of their firearms and bulletproof vests before forcing them to the ground at the scene. Some sustained minor injuries.

Recalling his account, the Ultimate 4 Security director said a routine site check was done on King Shaka Street by their night shift superviser who was then held at gunpoint by four males.
“Our controller tried contacting our reaction officer and realised that something was wrong. After getting confirmation from Altech Netstar on the location of our vehicle, I, together with our tactical team, dispatched to King Shaka Street. Upon reaching King Shaka Street, our officers spotted our car outside Standard Bank along with our superviser as well as officers from other security companies laying on the ground.

“An estimated number of 20-25 armed robbers began opening fire on my bakkie. Afterwards our controller contacted SAPS whom advised they do not have any vehicle to send out at the time. After some time SAPS finally made their way to the scene, which resulted in one police officer getting shot. The gunmen escaped and our officers were able to get assistance from emergency personnel.”

The female officer was rushed to the Stanger Hospital.

This follows a similar incident two weeks ago in which a group of robbers tunnelled through a wall at a bank in Pinetown, escaping with hundreds of thousands of rands. KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni said: “The Hawks will work tirelessly to catch the criminals so that they can face the full might of law. I appeal to members of the public who know these thugs to please contact us so that we can arrest them.”

Upon reaching King Shaka Street, our officers spotted our car outside Standard Bank along with our superviser as well as officers from other security companies laying on the ground.

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