From arson to foiled cash heist - 7 arrests, 3 dead

2017-11-08 06:01
Arson is suspected in the fire that burnt the lodge at Montello last Wednesday night.

Arson is suspected in the fire that burnt the lodge at Montello last Wednesday night.

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IT has been a week of violence and crime in the district -armed robbery, arson, cash-in-transit heist and hijackers However, on the positive side, as a result of prompt action by the SAPS, Field Security and other security firms, seven of the attackers have been arrested.

Three suspects involved in the foiled cash-in-transit heist were killed as they tried to shoot their way to escape.

First arrests, by Field Security, were on October 26, when information was received that a vehicle, which had been hi-jacked in Richmond, was travelling towards Greytown.

Security personnel and Captain Naicker and Contable Bhagwandeen gave chase and arrested three suspects who were charged with possession of a stolen vehicle and vehicle theft.

On Tuesday October 31, Field Security received a panic signal from Microsure in the D.R. Aheer Centre. Witnesses had seen the vehicle, a silver-grey Mazda with a NP registration, driving along Durban Street onto the Kranskop road.

The Mispah response vehicle picked up the message and gave chase. The suspects fired a number of shots - a Field Security member returned fire causing the driver to lose control. The vehicle left the road and the suspects leapt out and ran. The security members gave chase and caught two. A third was arrested in town - he had been claiming his vehicle had been stolen.

The police and K9 dog unit were on the scene and local farmers assisted in the chase. On Wednesday night the police, Field Security and Weapon Security responded to a call that the lodge at Montello had been set alight and was under attack.

Sudesh Maharaj of Field Security, three SAPS members and two Weapon Security guards did their best to put out the fire, but to no avail. A case of arson has been opened.

“I was unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Seven Oaks resident Tessa Harmon told Greytown Gazette after she was caught in a cash-in-transit heist on the P159 between Seven Oaks and Dalton last Friday morning. Her vehicle was shot at and she alerted her husband who sent out a Mayday call on the Seven Oaks security channel. Tessa said that within two minutes Buffalo Security personnel were there and within three minutes the first farmer was there and the response from the police, farmers and their wives was “amazing”.

The Mayday call was disseminated on WhatsApp groups triggering off the rapid and impressive response.

It is reported that two vehicles, with possibly seven suspects, shot at the cash-in-transit vehicle trying to ram it off the road.

Police were rapidly on the scene - there was an exchange of fire and three suspects were killed as they tried to outrun a police vehicle - a fourth, who was injured, is under guard in hospital.

Police said the rest of the gang escaped in the second vehicle. One of the three cash security guards was shot in the arm and taken to hospital, Charges of attempted robbery, attempted murder and possession of illegal firearms have been opened. Police recovered a vehicle and rifle.

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