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‘Cops’ strike as robbers – again

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Independent Newspapers

File picture: Skyler Reid

Cape Town - Armed robbers dressed in police uniforms hit an ATM at Promenade Mall in Mitchells Plain on Thursday, making off with an undisclosed amount of cash.

The Capitec ATM was about to be reloaded when the group of armed robbers gained access to the ATM room, apparently with a key.

Capitec spokesman Charl Nel said the robbers tied up and assaulted the security staff.

In mid-May, crooks dressed as cops held up a jewellery store in Green Point. Last week, four Tanzanians were arrested in connection with that and a spate of similar robberies.

The Cape Argus reported: “The notorious gang of fake cops thought to be responsible for a spree of armed robberies in greater Cape Town has been snared.”

It would appear this is not the case.

 

Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said it was “highly concerning that criminals are gaining access to police uniforms”.

He said he would take it up immediately with the provincial police commissioner, and that police must “make it a top priority to get to the bottom of this”.

Nel described the crime in the ATM, next to the Capitec branch.

“As per normal, G4S cash-in-transit company arrived at our branch to reload the ATM. G4S always enters the ATM room with two members of our own staff. Once inside, a group of people dressed in police uniforms arrived and gained access to the ATM room.

“According to reports, they had a key. They overpowered our staff members and G4S staff members who they tied up and assaulted. They then proceeded to take the money from the cash-in-transit company.”

Nel said that G4S staff members were physically hurt, but Capitec employees were unscathed, and will be given psychological counselling to “help them process the trauma”.

Nel said G4S had not told him the amount of stolen cash – but that ATMs are only reloaded when they are very nearly empty. It would probably have been a full load of notes to refill the autoteller.

He said the branch would be back in full operation on Friday.

Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk could not confirm that the robbers were dressed as policemen.

“It is alleged that three armed unidentified men entered the drop safe at a bank inside the shopping mall and threatened the security guards with firearms,” he said. “They fled the scene on foot.”

Liberty Promenade centre manager Michelle Britton confirmed the attack.

“Nobody was harmed during the incident and the centre has been secured and is trading as normal,” she said.

G4S security did not respond to requests for comment.

An armed robbery case will be investigated by the Directorate of Priority Crimes (Hawks).

* Suspended Hawks captain Esmerald Bailey is on trial in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court Bailey facing charges of having sold police uniforms and ammunition three years ago.

chelsea.geach@inl.co.za

Cape Argus


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