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Johannesburg - A search and rescue unit scoured the veld around Krugersdorp on Wednesday morning for a police officer who is believed to have been kidnapped last week after withdrawing money from a bank.
Crime-fighting organisation eBlockwatch put an alert out on Tuesday night after hearing about the man’s disappearance. Founder Andre Snyman posted a picture of the police officer in a blue top, taken from an Absa bank in Krugersdorp last Thursday. This was the last time he was seen. The man, who has a limp, withdrew R500 in cash.
His name could not be confirmed by the time of publication.
“When (the) team took a look at the footage, they picked up a guy who they recognised as one of the gang who follows clients from the bank after drawing money,” Snyman said on eBlockwatch’s Facebook page.
Snyman also posted a picture of a large open area where he said previous victims of robberies from banks had been dumped.
“They have previously found victims who have been tied up and left in the veld there.”
The rescue team on Wednesday comprised Kagiso police vehicles and dog units, which began searching the area. The missing man comes just a day after The Star alerted the public to a gang of criminals calling themselves The Planes who rob people outside banks. Snyman said at least three people had been killed in recent weeks in Gauteng after being followed from the bank.
A police investigator said the gang had been in operation for more than 10 years and they were also involved in other crimes, such as house robberies and hijackings.
The cars they hijack are used to commit the other crimes. The investigator said they often were arrested for different crimes, but because there was no specific police task team looking at these crimes, the cases were not combined and the men were soon released.
The source said it was a misconception that tellers in banks gave the gang information. “They stand inside the banks” and follow their victims to the parking lot.
Another method, “bombing”, is when the gang lures the victim to accompany them by “accidentally” finding a roll of notes and offering to split it. “They get into a car and the rest is history,” Snyman said.