Gang bombs Richmond ATMs and fires on police vehicle

2008-11-06 00:00

A group of heavily armed bank robbers got away with a large sum of cash after they blasted open ATMs at a First National Bank (FNB) branch in Richmond in the early hours of yesterday morning.

As they fled, they sprayed AK47 bullets at a police vehicle, causing it to crash.

The dramatic attack happened in Shepstone Street at about 2 am. The group fled in a white BMW 1 Series and a blue Golf 5 with Gauteng number plates, shooting wildly.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said police officers in the Richmond police station heard the explosion and gunshots and rushed to the scene to investigate.

Another crime prevention group, including a dog unit and crime intelligence officers, who were investigating an unrelated crime at a nearby filling station, saw the two vehicles speeding down Shepstone Street.

They gave chase, and the gang’s gunshots caused the dog unit’s vehicle to crash into a roadside barrier. No one was injured.

The extent of damage was clear inside the bank yesterday; ceiling boards were hanging from the roof and there was glass all over the floor. Spent AK47 cartridges could be seen in front of the bank. Members of the explosives unit were busy at the scene.

FNB spokesman Xolisa Vapi declined to disclose the total financial cost of the raid, but said it costs R250 000 to replace a bombed ATM.

“The ATM bombings had declined around the country, except in Gauteng,” said Vapi.

Vapi said such crimes create anxiety among workers, even though the robbery happened while no one was on duty.

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