Kimberley – Chaos broke out in the streets of Kimberley on Wednesday after shots were fired during an apparent attempted cash-in-transit heist.
At least six men were arrested following their alleged involvement in what appeared to be an attempted armed robbery of a G4S cash-in-transit vehicle.
The incident occurred in Cecil Sussman Street, Kimberley, just before 11am on Wednesday, when shots were fired, apparently by police, as they apprehended five men who were in a silver double cab bakkie with GP number plates.
According to an eyewitness employed at the Sol Plaatje Fresh Produce Market, two G4S employees, driving a G4S cash-in-transit vehicle, had just finished collecting a cash drop from the market and were on their way out when three shots were heard from the street outside the market.
It is alleged that five people inside the silver bakkie were waiting outside the market and were planning on robbing the G4S vehicle as it came out of the market’s premises.
However, it is believed that the vehicle was being followed by a team from the Hawks, as part of a Crime Intelligence operation, who were conducting an undercover operation and had received inside information about the alleged planned heist.
The unmarked Hawks vehicle stopped behind the bakkie and forced the driver and passengers out. During this time, three shots were fired, but by late on Wednesday it was still unclear who fired the shots.
The G4S vehicle came to a standstill only metres away from the bakkie.
According to eyewitnesses, a BMW vehicle, also allegedly involved in the planned heist, apparently then sped from the scene and was followed by members of the Hawks.
Five male suspects were seen handcuffed and lying on the pavement in Cecil Sussman Street next to the bakkie. They were being guarded by armed members of the Hawks, as well as the two armed employees who were in the G4S vehicle.
No injuries were reported but one woman was taken to hospital by ER24 paramedics to be treated for shock.
Only minutes after the shooting, members of the Hawks were seen escorting a handcuffed male, believed to have also been involved in the planned heist, from a house in Moore Street, Verwoerdpark.
Meanwhile, at around 12.30pm, emergency services responded to a scene where a grey BMW had crashed into a building in Gladstone Road, De Beers, with the driver being transported to hospital after suffering injuries. It is, however, believed that this was not the same BMW that sped away from the Cecil Sussman Street incident.
Social media was yesterday buzzing with rumours that one of the arrested suspects was a well-known city tavern owner and businessman.
G4S spokesperson Perrin Hartslief yesterday indicated that he had been prohibited from speaking to the media about the incident and could only confirm that “no one was injured during the incident”.
Police spokesperson Captain Sergio Kock said that the investigation was being conducted by the Hawks and referred media enquiries to Hawks spokesperson Nomthandazo Mnisi, who did not respond to the enquiries by the time of going to press yesterday.
Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson, Sello Matsie, said yesterday that the municipality condemned the incident, adding that the fresh produce market had been the victim of robberies before.
Matsie said that the municipality would give its full support and co-operation to the police during the investigation.