Hawks not ruling out syndicate in late night Joburg attempted cash-in-transit heist

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This cash van has been bombed. (Iavan Pijoos, News24, file)
This cash van has been bombed. (Iavan Pijoos, News24, file)

The Hawks have not ruled out a potentially well-oiled syndicate following an attempted robbery on a Fidelity cash-in-transit (CIT) van in Johannesburg on Wednesday night.

"We cannot rule out that this could be part of a very big, well planned syndicate. We appeal to the public with information to come forward and give a statement on anything that could assist with the investigation," Hawks spokesperson Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu said on Thursday.

A Fidelity van that had been travelling on the N3 south with two vehicle escorts was intercepted by three cars with armed men, Mulamu told News24.

"They were hit 2km before the Marlboro off ramp and were ambushed by three cars. Shots were fired. However, they did not get away with money after being disturbed by a passing metro vehicle. The security guard suffered minor injuries and his firearm was stolen."

READ: Cash-in-transit heist syndicates 'operate like well-oiled machines'

Mulamu said the Hawks would be investigating. She added that the elite unit was investigating "all the CITs happening in our country".

Mulamu said the Hawks had established the National Bureau of Illegal Firearms Control and Priority Violent Crimes to tackle "these crimes".

"We are working with crime intelligence and all law enforcement agencies, so we can successful arrest and prosecute these criminals."

Spate of CITs

In Limpopo on Monday, May 21, a group of more than 10 robbers struck a Fidelity van, bombing the vehicle and shooting at the crew sitting in the back. One crew member was wounded.

The group made off with an undisclosed amount of money. No arrests were made.

In a separate incident the previous day, police launched a manhunt for about eight suspects following a cash-in-transit heist at Southdale Mall, just outside the Johannesburg CBD.

It was believed that the driver was approached by about eight armed suspects who pointed firearms at him and forced him to open the van.

The suspects made off with an undisclosed amount of money. No arrests have been made.

In Boksburg on May 17, two G4S vans were blown up during a heist. Five men were arrested, while others escaped. 

During a police briefing on its quarterly performance on May 16, national Crime Intelligence head Peter Jacobs said the latest spate of the crimes involved the use of explosives to blow up vans.

Jacobs described this as a "particular phenomenon" which was different to previous cash-in-transit heists.

He said over two or three weeks, explosives which was going to be used in heists were seized.

Investigators were trying to understand the "attack methodology" used and what gangs needed to carry out robberies.

Jacobs added that officers were therefore beginning to target their supply lines of these items.

He said that those in the cash-in-transit industry seemed to have "gone cheaper" and that this could be exacerbating the problem.

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