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‘Cop vans’ linked to robbery

Crime & Courts

Johannesburg - A legal adviser working on an investigation into South African banks was robbed at gunpoint at the weekend and his files stolen, with what appears to be the help of the police.

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Raymond Dicks and his son Jimmy stand in front of the cottage/office on his property where he was tied up for over three hours together with his son and Brendan Steenkamp (best friend of Jimmy). The gang appeared to be of aproximately 12 members took there time ransaking and robbing the contents of the cottage/office and apparently targeting some of Raymonds legal and research files in the process. Picture: Antoine de Ras, 23/10/2012

But, unbeknown to the group of at least 12 robbers, their entire escapade was caught on cameras hidden around the property.

What the footage shows is what appear to be three police cars – two vans and one Ford Escort – driving backward and forward on the street outside the property while the robbery takes place.

Raymondt Dicks was at home with his son and friend on Saturday night in Blue Hills, Midrand, when six armed men stormed into the house.

Dicks is the legal adviser to the group NewERA (New Economic Rights Alliance), which has launched a court case against the four major local banks and the SA Reserve Bank.

He is also representing author Michael Tellinger, who is suing Standard Bank for civil fraud.

Describing the incident, Dicks said one man did all the talking, and he forced the trio to lie down and tied their hands with neckties.

“We were tied up belly down. Our hands were so tightly bound we couldn’t feel them,” said Dicks.

“I was continuously hit and pistol-whipped.”

Dicks said he had bruises on his head, neck, ribs, private parts and upper legs.

“They walked in with no shame. It was extremely well orchestrated. What I went through during the robbery was bad enough, but when I watched the footage afterwards I was really shocked,” said Dicks.

The footage shows police vans blocking the road while the robbers entered his property. It shows the men talking and laughing while going through the house for three hours and 20 minutes.

The footage shows their faces and might identify the police vans.

Dicks and his son were made to hand over their bank cards and pins, and their bank accounts were cleared out. A television set, speakers, amplifier, computer and cellphones were also taken.

Dicks said he found it strange that many other valuable items were left behind.

Dicks said his files had been meticulously gone through and only two were missing. The files relate to the NewERA and Tellinger cases.

His computer was also carefully cleared and his hard drive taken.

The legal adviser said the robber held the gun to his head and he thought he was going to pull the trigger, but someone outside called “woza” (“come” in isiZulu) and the men left.

Dicks said the video footage showed that at that point, the police vans outside needed to leave, and they drove away. He believes the vans were loaded with items stolen during the robbery.

Constable Matome Tlamela, from the Midrand police station, said they were investigating a case of armed robbery and were yet to make any arrests.

She said the video footage did not show clearly if the vans involved belonged to the police, and they were still investigating.

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The Star

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