#CITRobberies soar as robbers hit money vans every day

Johannesburg – After a relatively quiet few months on our roads, cash-in-transit (CIT) robberies have come back to haunt us, with one being committed almost daily since the beginning of this month.

The police believe that a new group of robbers could have emerged to carry out the current spate of CIT robberies.

According to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric), there have been 93 cash-in-transit robberies since January 1 this year and 15 since the start of May.

On Tuesday this week, a group of five men stormed an SBV vehicle in Laudium, Pretoria, and forced security guards into the back as they stole money, putting it in the back of their getaway bakkie.

SBV has offered a R1-million reward to anyone who has information about the robbery.

Last Thursday, a group of criminals bombed a G4S cash vehicle on the R40 road between Acornhoek and Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga. They fled the scene with the money.

Despite the onslaught on cash vans since the beginning of 2018, police appeared to have gained control later in the year, after Police Minister Bheki Cele launched the National Stabilisation Interventions – which resulted in several arrests of kingpins.

However, according to Sabric chief executive Kalyani Pillay, there were 19 robberies in January, 19 in February, 23 in March and 17 in April.

National police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo told The Star, with reference to the spate of robberies that took place last year: “We may have broken that ring of robbers but we believe that maybe there is a new group that is operating.”

Anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee told The Star that he believed the robberies were coming back and that the police had maybe “slipped a step or two back”.

110381868 - #CITRobberies soar as robbers hit money vans every day
The scene of a heist in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni, last year where two cash vans were blown open.
 Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips 
African News Agency (ANA)

“I know the police say they have a 72-hour operation plan but it seems to me that these gangs are not stopping,” said Abramjee.

“As much as the minister has said repeatedly that breakthroughs have been made, that they are on top of it and have broken the backbone of the syndicates, I think they are far from it.”

Abramjee further said the police needed to look at the possibility of there being smaller criminal gangs and the possibility of inside jobs.

At the height of the CIT robbery onslaught last year, Dr Hennie Lochner, a senior lecturer in forensic and criminal investigation science at Unisa in Pretoria, told The Star that the entire justice system was involved in these incidents.

“In every heist there are people from the criminal justice system involved. These include police, lawyers, magistrates, prosecutors and metro police.

"The robbers use specific lawyers, and their modus operandi is to inform lawyers when and where the next robbery will take place.

"Lawyers are paid in advance and are told to be at a specific area or town where the robbery will happen. This is to ensure that should there be an arrest, they will have a lawyer immediately available. Magistrates are paid by the family of the accused to grant bail, while prosecutors and police get bribed to destroy the evidence,” said Lochner at the time.

Naidoo, however, said the police did not want to consider the involvement of any person without evidence to substantiate the claims. “To assume that there are inside jobs and whatever is pure speculation,” he said.

Meanwhile, on Monday, two former security guards who stole R2.8million in two months, by pocketing cash they were sent to collect from various businesses, were sentenced at the Makhado Magistrate’s Court to nine years each in jail for theft.


The Star

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