Gangs leave trails of damage

2018-07-11 06:02
Two men conducting an assessment of damages caused by armed robbers during the blas­ting of the fuel filling station’s money drop safe, which took place on Thursday (05/07) in General De Wet in Bloemfontein.Photo: Mlungisi Louw

Two men conducting an assessment of damages caused by armed robbers during the blas­ting of the fuel filling station’s money drop safe, which took place on Thursday (05/07) in General De Wet in Bloemfontein.Photo: Mlungisi Louw

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Like predators, a gang of armed robbers have left trails of damages and panic after they ambushed three separate places in the Mangaung Metro Municipality.

Two armed robberies occurred in Bloemfontein on Thursday (05/07) in the early morning.

The third incident, a cash-in-transit heist on the N8, took place on Tuesday, 3 July, during the early evening.

Appearing to be well-informed, the gang of armed robbers outsmarted law enforcement agencies in all three cases which occurred within 72 hours.

The police in Bloemfontein are yet to make a breakthrough in all the cases.

Col. Thandi Mbambo, provincial police spokesperson, said the robbers made off with an undisclosed amount of money after bombing a fuel station in General De Wet and holding security guards hostage at the Mangaung Metro Municipality building in Rocklands.

The cash-in-transit heist reportedly took place on Tuesday, 3 July, at about 18:30 between the S-curve towards the west entrance into Botshabelo, resulting in a major traffic jam. Traffic was reportedly delayed on Tuesday until late in the night.

Armed to the teeth, the group of robbers apparently attacked a cash-in-transit van and forced it off the road. In the event, the heavily armed robbers reportedly also forced other motorists to stop in the middle of the road, thereby making it impossible for traffic to move.

This incident was shared on social media, showing photos of passengers using busses and taxis stranded on the road. Some passengers were heading home to Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu from work in Bloemfontein, reportedly arriving home between 02:00 and 03:00 on Wednesday (04/07).

In the early hours of Thursday (05/07) at around 01:00, four armed robbers wearing balaclavas, pounced on unsuspecting security officers at the Mangaung Metro Municipality building, located adjacent Home Affairs in Rocklands, Bloemfontein.

Mbambo said the armed robbers held the on-duty security guards hostage in the municipality building.

“They clasped the security officers with wires and locked them into the bathrooms. The suspects then went to the finance section, broke open the strong room to the safe, before forcing the money safe door open,” she said.

In a separate incident, also at about 01:00, six armed robbers blasted a drop safe at a fuel station in General De Wet, Bloemfontein.

Mbambo said the six robbers who targeted the fuel station, forced petrol attendants into the garage shop, thereafter they blasted the drop safe and damaged the windows and walls of the garage.

“The safe did not open. The suspects then took the petty cash that was in the till and cigarettes and fled the scene with a delivery van that was outside, as well as with their metallic green Toyota Corolla. The van was found abandoned near a car wash in Bloemanda,” said Mbambo.

She said they were investigating business robbery in both cases.

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