Cape Town -
A postman’s bicycle, a mailbag and more than 40 bullet shells were found along Klipfontein Road after a shoot-out and cash-in-transit heist in which two people were wounded in Athlone on Tuesday.
The bicycle was used in the heist as one of the robbers apparently carried an assault rifle in the mailbag mounted on the bike.
Witnesses told the Cape Times that another armed man, dressed in orange Correctional Services clothing, stormed the cash van parked at Absa’s Athlone branch at 9am.
Police spokesman Frederick van Wyk said an undisclosed sum of money was taken. The Hawks are investigating the incident.
Van Wyk said two guards were wounded and taken to Vincent Pallotti Hospital.
An attempted murder and robbery case has been opened.
“A man dressed in orange Correctional Services clothing approached the guards and opened fire,” Van Wyk said.
“We also found a bicycle and mailbag which were used in the heist.
“We believe there are five suspects involved in this robbery,” he added.
Residents of Kewtown who witnessed the incident said they were surprised at how easily the robbers had made their getaway.
Shaheema Jacobs said she ran inside her home when the guards fired back at the robbers.
“It became like a movie with gunshots going off like crazy,” Jacobs said.
“The robbers got into their car slowly. They still fired back at the guards as they got into their car.
“The shooting stopped and the guys got in and drove away slowly just like any car.”
Jacobs said the car had Gauteng number plates.
“One guy came with a postman’s bicycle and had a gun in the mailbag. He took it out and started firing at the cash van.
“Three others came along in a BMW and they too started shooting. The guards shot back but they were outnumbered. I saw the guy on the bike take the money box.”
Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: “It is the second time this has happened at the bank. The first time they tried they were not successful, but now they got the money and injured people.
“I go to this bank every week. Anyone could have been injured in this (incident).
“This has to stop.”
Mark Kirby, 25, a Grade 3 Disaster Risk Management medical volunteer, treated the wounded guards after the police arrived.
“When all the shooting had stopped, I had a feeling that someone was injured. I went to the scene and told police that I know how to treat gunshot wounds, and they told me that help was needed. I ran back home and fetched all the medical equipment I have,” Kirby said.
He said the wounded guards were responsive when he treated them inside the cash van. “All the guards told me was that they were in extreme pain. The one was shot in the shoulder and another in the neck.
“I patched up the wounds… they were both lucky that the bullets did not travel through their bodies.
“I was just lucky they had not died in my arms.”
Anyone with information can contact Hawks detective Wayne Louw on 082 623 1089 or 021 918 3344, CrimeStop confidentially on 08600 10111 or SMS Crime Line on 32211.