Robbed woman suspects bank staff

2020-01-15 15:01
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A local mother is fuming after she was robbed of a R70 000 investment at gunpoint last week.

She now suspects that Ithala Bank employees might be behind the robbery.

The woman (32), who spoke to The Witness on condition her name was not revealed, said she and her husband have been depositing money every month at Ithala Bank for the past three years with plans to build their family home.

The unemployed mother of three, from Thembalihle informal settlement in Eastwood, said late last year she informed the bank that she wanted to cash out her money, which had accumulated to R70 000. She was then told to come back to the Ithala Bank on Church Street on January 3, but when she went there, she was told that she needed to put in a four-days’ notice.

On Thursday last week, the woman returned to the branch, carrying her seven-month-old daughter on her back.

“I was first assisted by a man who made me sign documents, then he sent me to see another woman who already had the stacks of money laid out on the table.

“I told her that I preferred the money to be transferred to my bank account, but she said that there was nothing she could do at that stage as the money had already been withdrawn from the bank’s account.”

She said the woman then placed the money into a brown envelope and gave it to her.

“I walked out of the bank and walked straight to the taxi rank, which is right across the street from the bank, and boarded a taxi home.

“I was sitting in the back seat and was very nervous because I was carrying a lot of money. I kept on looking around and noticed that there was a white Corolla with an ND registration that was following the taxi, but I quickly dismissed that and thought I was just being paranoid.”

When she got off at her stop in Thembalihle, she said she walked towards the small road heading to her home and the same white car, with tinted windows, sped past her, did a U-turn then sped back towards her and braked right in front of her.

“A man with a gun came out of the car and grabbed my child by her arm from my back and pointed a gun to her head, demanding that I hand over my bag. He was dangling my child by her arm and she was crying hysterically.

“At first I refused to give him my bag, but another man in the car kept telling the one with the gun to get into the car with my baby and that I will follow them with the bag, so I just gave him my bag and he handed me my child then they drove off,” she said.

On the same day, the woman went back to Ithala and told them that she had been robbed. She also told them that she suspects that the robbery may have been orchestrated by one of the bank’s employees.

“They said I should report the matter to the police and that they would also investigate and will get back to me, but I haven’t heard from them since that day.

“I am really angry about this whole thing because the only people who knew about this money was me, my husband, and the people from the bank. We had not told anyone else about the money.”

She said she and her husband, who works at a local factory, had already bought a plot of land where they were planning on building their home. “... I am not going to let this matter go, Ithala must investigate and tell me who stole our money,” she said.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joshua Maistry said a case of robbery with a firearm was being investigated and no arrests have been made yet.

Ithala Bank spokesperson Sandile Xolo said they are aware of the suspected involvement of staff members in a customer robbery.

“Since the matter has also been reported to the police for investigation by the customer, Ithala will allow the full force of the law to take its course and will assist the police with its investigation in any manner possible. Meanwhile, every measure has been taken to ensure the security of client information and to ensure that the investigation is not compromised,” said Xolo.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime
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