Armed robbers in court

2015-08-05 06:00

SEVEN men appeared in the Pietermaritzburg High Court in connection with the more than R3 million armed robbery at Absa in Greytown on 7 November, 2013.

All pleaded not guilty to charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances and attempted murder of three women who were shot at while withdrawing money at an ATM.

Further charges were stealing a vehicle, malicious damage to property and some were charged for the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition. Three members of the public were also shot at. Further charges relate to 11 vehicles which were damaged during the gun fight between gang members and security guards who were taking money from the bank to an armoured vehicle.

In what was reported to be a well planned heist, the robbers pounced on the trolley in which the cash was being wheeled out to an armoured vehicle parked in front of the bank, and threw the cash bags onto the back of their bakkie. Some of the gang jumped on the back and they then drove off through town to the Kranskop road. After the shoot-out 150 spent cartridges and live rounds were recovered.

Following on information received a police task force and members of the Organised Crime Unit waited along the N2 for the red Toyota bakkie the robbers were said to be driving. Around about 9.20pm the vehicle was spotted driving towards Durban. At the toll bay the vehicle had burst through the boom gate as police were closing in on it.

The Hilux sped off with task force members shooting at it, when it suddenly came to a halt metres before the tollgate. The driver ran into the bushes pointing a firearm at the police. Warrant Officer Wolfaardt told the court he had run to the Hilux and found the left passenger door open and there was a woman and child inside.

One of the accused, Sphezela Ntuli, was in the front and there were four males in the bin.

While other Ppolice searched for the four, Wolfaardt recovered a 9mm pistol and live rounds from Ntuli, as well as two cellphones and eight sim cards.

The case, which is ongoing, is being heard by Judge Philip Nkosi and an assessor

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