Crime scene expert taking finger prints on a cash box which a Security guard used it as a sheild when one robber shot him during a cash-in-transit heist at Palm Spring mall.019 Picture: Matthews Baloyi 2/19/2013

Johannesburg - For most of the morning, the five occupants of a green Colt bakkie had acted suspiciously at the Palm Springs Mall.

Car guard Zweli Matana had watched the bakkie arrive at 8.30am on Tuesday and saw it park at the KFC outlet. The driver, a bigger, older man, got out. He walked with a limp and went and bought some chicken.

“He was a big daddy,” recalled Matana.

The bakkie had stayed in the car park for the rest of the morning, and Matana grew suspicious.

He realised what the men were up to when, at about 10am, semi-automatic gunfire rang out across the mall.

A security guard had collected money from the Shoprite supermarket and was walking back to the cash van with a trolley containing bags of cash when three men opened fire with at least one R5 rifle. The bakkie they had climbed from was idling not far from the entrance.

“The man dropped the trolley and grabbed one of the cases and started running to the Standard Bank,” said Matana. “It was like a daylight movie.”

The security guard, according to Matana, used one of the cases as a shield as he ran.

But he dropped the case, when it began to spew red smoke, presumably after the anti-theft mechanism was activated.

As the man ran, and the robbers shot, customers took cover. He made it to the bank safely and got inside.

Another witness who didn’t want to give his name also saw the robbery take place. The men, the witness said, then collected the money left at the scene and climbed onto the back of the bakkie.

As the bakkie fled the mall, the cash van gave chase, said Matana. The driver fired at least one shot from the side window, and the robbers on the back of the bakkie returned fire.

The cash van gave up the chase, according to Matana, just as the bakkie exited the mall and turned left onto Palm Road.

The van then returned to the scene of the crime.

The police said no one was injured. At least 11 R5 spent cartridges littered the scene. Also found was a single 9mm round.

Constable Thembeka Koago, spokeswoman for the Boipatong SAPS, said an undisclosed amount of money had been taken, and that the robbers were still at large.

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The Star