CAPE TOWN - Reduced cash levels at high risk South African Post Office branches are some of the steps being taken to “lose their attractiveness as targets to robbers”.
This comes after a brazen armed robbery at the Eerste River branch on Tuesday, where suspects fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, after shooting and wounding four people – including a law enforcement officer, a security guard and two bystanders.
Police have since made a breakthrough, arresting three suspects and recovering the undisclosed amount of money.
Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi said two men, aged 21, had since been arrested and detained by SAPS, when found in possession of an undisclosed amount of money, moments after the business robbery.
They are expected to appear in the Blue Downs Magistrates Court, once charged.
“Police members from Kleinvlei Crime Prevention Unit responded to a complaint of a business robbery in Strand Road, Eerste River about 12.45pm on Tuesday. According to reports, unknown males entered the post office, demanding cash. When the police officers arrived at the scene, a shootout between the suspects and the police followed.
“Two males, aged 76 and 40, and a female, aged 61, sustained gunshot wounds. A 30-year-old police constable also sustained gunshot wounds. The four victims were all transported to nearby hospitals for medical treatment,” said Swartbooi.
Police could not confirm if the incident was linked to a syndicate of similar robberies.
Metro Police spokesperson Sergeant Ruth Solomons said they arrested a third suspect, a 54-year-old man, after receiving a tip off.
Post Office spokesperson Johan Kruger said having less cash on site at the branches is “a programme to improve security features at its branches, starting with the high risk branches first”.
“The SA Post Office can confirm that the Eerste River Post Office was the victim of an armed robbery on May 3, when three armed men held the employees at the branch at gunpoint. The robbers left the Post Office with an undisclosed amount of cash but, at the same time, members of the public who had noticed the incident stopped a police vehicle that was at the mall at the time. A shootout between robbers and the police ensued,” said Kruger.
The branch remained closed yesterday, while staff received trauma counselling.
ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said: “Medics assessed the patients and found that a male security guard was in a serious condition, having sustained a gunshot wound to his thigh, while a man and woman had each sustained a gunshot wound to their foot. The patients were treated, and the seriously injured man was provided with pain-relief medication, before they were transported to a nearby hospital for further care. It is understood that a law enforcement officer that was in a serious condition was transported privately to a nearby hospital.”