ATM bombers saved my baby - mother

2015-11-10 07:14


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WATCH: Armed robbers bomb Pretoria petrol station ATM

2015-11-09 10:47

Watch the moment armed robbers bomb an ATM at a Pretoria petrol station.WATCH

Pretoria - The parents of an 8-month-old baby watched in terror when their child was left in their car as an ATM machine exploded at a petrol station in Pretoria. 

But after the explosion, one of the robbers went to their car, took the baby out of the car seat and walked back to his parents who were being held in a shack serving as the guard house.

"I was frightened. I did not know what to do. I just remember my husband saying we must keep calm and they wouldn't kill us," the mother told News24 in an interview.

She was speaking about the trauma she endured as a heavily armed gang accosted her and her family moments before they bombed an ATM at a petrol station in The Orchards, north of Pretoria at the weekend.

- See the video here.

Thulisa Mgugudo, along with her husband and their 8-month-old baby stopped at an Engen garage to refill their car when the gang pounced. The incident occurred on Sunday morning when the family was on their way to Sandton.

"I didn’t know which card had cash so I went to the ATM machine to check. I put in my card but realised that the machine was not working. I told the people... behind me... and they said I must go inside. Within minutes when I was inside, there were people pointing a gun at me," she said.

The gun-wielding men ordered her to go to a small shack, which was being used as the guard room.

It was also where other garage employees were being held.

Moments later, she saw one of the men approach their car.

"The man told my husband to switch off the car and go to the shack. He went inside and they started begging the men to get the baby in the car. One kept saying we should keep calm as they were not there to harm us. Then there was a loud explosion," said Mgugudo.

'Keep calm'

She saw one of the men go to their car to fetch the child. The man took the child out of the car seat and took the little boy to his parents. The men took an undisclosed amount of money and drove off in a white Toyota Quantum minibus taxi.

"I was frightened. I did not know what to do. I just remember my husband saying we must keep calm and they wouldn't kill us," she said.

Police spokesperson Constable Reneilwe Makwalo said there were about 10 men involved in the robbery. She said they were carrying pistols and one rifle.

"The men approached the security officer on duty and locked him in the guard room. They then forced the other workers to join him. One suspect stood guard while the others continued to blow up the ATM inside the garage. They escaped with an undisclosed amount of money," said Makwalo.

This was the third incident in Pretoria since the start of the month. On November 4, an Engen garage on the corner of Jenssen and Doreen avenue in Akasia was targeted. Four armed men bombed the ATM and the drop safe before fleeing in a White Golf 6.

On November 7, three men hit a Caltex garage in Sunnyside on the corner of Nelson Mandela and Willow Street. The three men, wearing balaclavas, entered the Caltex garage with two rifles and a handgun at 21:45.

They forced four employees to lie down and used explosives to bomb a Capitec ATM inside the shop. The men took the safe inside the ATM and left with an undisclosed amount of money. The suspects fled in a silver Toyota Corolla with no registration plates.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  crime

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