Durban - A gang of robbers picked the wrong target when they held up a cash-in-transit security guard collecting cash boxes from a petrol station shop on Monday.

The four robbers had not done their homework, because across the road from the petrol station in Chris Hani (North Coast) Road are the offices of a police detective branch.

As the gang tried to flee with their gains, they were cornered by police on a railway line near the station. The robbery took place in the forecourt of the Africa’s Pride Caltex station at 9.30am.

Security guards were collecting cash there when the gang robbed one of them and fired shots randomly in the process, said police spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker.

“Police from the Greenwood Park police station who were in the vicinity immediately responded. There was a shoot-out between the police and the suspects. Three suspects fled on foot while one fled with the getaway vehicle.

“Police managed to chase the three on foot and arrested them with the cash box and a firearm,” Naicker said.

Police cornered the fourth suspect in the getaway car further along Chris Hani Road.

It was discovered that the car had been stolen in the Pinetown area.

According to a source at the scene, three of the robbers went into the convenience store, where they split up and pretended to be looking at chips on the shelves and cold drinks in the fridge.

The cash-in-transit van arrived and parked on the side of the forecourt.

One guard got out and went to the drop safe underneath the petrol station cashier booth, opened the safe and took out a box containing an undisclosed amount of cash.

Then, when he got up, two of the men ran to him and pulled the box away.

One disarmed the guard, while another fired five gunshots while fleeing.

It is believed the bullets ricocheted off the ground and struck two vehicles on the forecourt. One bullet hit a pillar near a petrol pump.

The gunfire alerted detectives across the road.

The source said one of the robbers was seated in a white VW Citi Golf near the intersection of Malacca Road. He sped off when he heard the gunshots.

The three men ran across the busy road and up a footpath on to a railway line. Greenwood Park police detectives ran on to the railway line and caught them.

The Caltex garage owner declined to comment, saying it was against franchise protocol to speak to the media.

Daily News