Crime wave: Robbers hit pension points, flee with millions

2015-07-01 12:31
A superstore in Durban was hit by a gang of armed robbers targeting ATMs. (Supplied)

A superstore in Durban was hit by a gang of armed robbers targeting ATMs. (Supplied)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Durban - Three retail outlets have been struck by armed robbers in the space of 12 hours in what appear to be carefully orchestrated month-end raids.

Police are now probing the link between the three robberies, which have seen robbers make off with pension payout funds thought to be valued in the millions.

Meanwhile, in Pretoria, nine pensioners were shot and wounded during a cash-heist at around 06:00 at the Soshanguve Mall on Wednesday, Gauteng police said.

The elderly people had arrived at the mall to collect their pension payouts.

Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said about 10 suspects confronted Fidelity security guards who were delivering money at a pension pay point.

In Durban, the first attack saw a gang of heavily-armed men storming the Boxer Punch store in Pine Street in central Durban on Tuesday night.

Approached by five suspects’

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said the store was being closed when the gunmen struck.

“The victim was closing the store with his colleagues when they were approached by five suspects. At gunpoint the suspects took cash, cellphones and DVD recorders before fleeing the crime scene in an unknown direction. A case of business robbery was opened at Durban Central Saps and no arrest or recoveries have been made,” he said.

Hours later, a gang of heavily armed robbers escaped with hundreds of thousands of rands in pension payout funds after a dramatic heist at Boxer Superstore in Clermont, Durban, on Wednesday morning.

An employee was injured when the brazen gang detonated explosives they had laid around an in-store ATM.

A police source, who could not be named, was one of the first officers to attend the scene.

Shrapnel everywhere

He told of how the explosive charges completely destroyed the cash machine, sending hunks of shrapnel flying through the shop.

“When the store had opened for business this morning a group of men, as many as ten, had rushed through the doors brandishing handguns and assault rifles. They were definitely well armed and well versed in this kind of robbery,” the source said.

“They forced all of the people inside the shop to lie on the ground while they went straight to the pension pay out point. They worked the cover off the outside of the cash machine and then set the explosives, which detonated in the shop.”

The officer said before the dust had settled, the robbers had already made their way to the blast site to collect the money.

“Once the charges blew they were gone. They all fled through the same way that they came in. The amount of money that was stolen is still being calculated, but we expect it to be a large amount,” he said.

Undisclosed amount of cash

Naicker said the robbers took an undisclosed amount of cash and fled the scene in their white Toyota double cab bakkie.

In another incident on Wednesday morning, robbers had rushed inside the shop in Stanger where they too targeted the pension payout point.

It is understood that as much as R500 000 had been delivered yesterday.

Naicker said that the gunmen had discharged their weapons inside the store as they entered.

“They took an undisclosed amount of cash before fleeing the scene. Shots were fired but no one was injured. A case of business robbery was opened at KwaDukuza SAPS for investigation and no arrests or recoveries made,” he said.

IPSS Medical Rescue spokesperson Dylan Meyrick said that medics had examined the staff members at the scene and that while they were visibly shaken, no one had been hurt.

Stores being targeted 

Boxer Superstores Marketing Director Andrew Mills confirmed that two of their stores had been targeted.

“There was an armed robbery at the Punch Store in Pine Street last night and this morning a gang of men targeted the Sassa pension payout point inside the store.”

“We are on an armed robbery alert system and we get updates on what happens around the country and we are of the view that this is not a Boxer specific attack and that the two cases are not connected,” Mills said.

“Over the past two years we have reduced the amount of cash we hold on site because of awareness among criminals that at month end, pension pay-outs take place.  Since then we have actually seen a slowdown on crime.

“We have an in-house security system so we try making it as difficult as possible for criminals. This is done with uniformed and undercover guards in all our stores. We understand the risks of this game and we have a duty to our customers to pay social grants and if we stopped it would actually be a disservice to them,” he said.

Read more on:    police  |  pretoria  |  durban  |  crime

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.