#FNBHeist: Tears flow over missing millions

Cape Town - The victims who lost items valued over R10m in stolen deposit boxes rented from First National Bank are distraught and disappointed.

A tip-off led the police to finding some of the safety deposit boxes, Hawks spokesperson Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu told Fin24 on Thursday. She said about 250 safety deposit boxes were recovered on a veld near the FNB Stadium in Soweto.

"All of them were forcibly opened and although no valuable items were found, some documents were recovered," Malamu said.

"No arrests have been made and police are following up on information that they are receiving in regards to this matter."


My kids' future was in that safety deposit box

My loss with FNB is irreplaceable

My father's most prized possessions stolen

The safety deposit boxes were found two days after it was stolen during a break in at FNB's Randburg branch on December 18.  

The robbers reportedly tied up a security guard before gaining entry into the bank by grinding their way through an internal wall using a jackhammer. They allegedly had 12 to 15 hours in the bank to gain entry, remove the boxes and load them up.

Speaking to Fin24 on behalf of many of the victims‚ Kelly Fraser, commended the SAPS and officials involved in the case for being "extremely helpful" and for clear "communication with certain members".

The known stolen items worth millions, range from title deeds to life savings in cash, jewellery and Kruger Rands.

READ: Victims raise questions after heist at FNB

Many of the victims feel aggrieved and disappointed in FNB's handling of the matter.

Fraser, whose father Andrew Fraser also rented a safety deposit box, started WhatsApp and Facebook groups for the victims after she found it hard to obtain details about the robbery.

An FNB spokesperson informed Fin24 that the bank was not at liberty to divulge any specific details about the robbery as it is under investigation.
"We are working closely with the South African Police Services (Saps) and the Organised Crime Unit with regard to the matter," said Lee-Anne van Zyl, CEO of FNB Points of Presence, in a statement last week.

The group of over 100 victims are in particular concerned about why FNB waited days after the robbery occurred to inform clients about the incident.

The bank, through their legal team, sent the below letter to some clients to inform them of the robbery.

"There are a number that were not contacted until they had called to book appointments."  

Another gripe is that the boxes were moved from the FNB branch in Fourways to Randburg without the permission of some holders.

Fraser said according to FNB there is a clause that states they don't need to have permission to move the boxes. However, she said many people were only notified either by registered post or never received any communication.

"One member received the letter a day after the final date required to respond on whether they would like to take their valuables out before the move," said Fraser.  

Without going into detail, she suggested that negligence appears to be at play relating to the robbery.

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

Brent Crude
All Share
Top 40
Financial 15
Industrial 25
Resource 10
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
I'm not really directly affected
18% - 1955 votes
I am taking a hit, but should be able to recover in the next year
23% - 2556 votes
My finances have been devastated
34% - 3810 votes
It's still too early to know what the full effect will be
25% - 2739 votes