A Police officer gathers the personal belongings of a cash in transit robber who was shot dead on Friday after a group of between 7 and 9 stole a cash van in Duduza. Picture: Timothy Bernard 10.08.2012

Johannesburg - It was supposed to have been the perfect crime: a gang of robbers attack five Fidelity guards early in the morning, steal social grant money meant for the elderly, the sick and children, then flee the paypoint before anyone could realise what has happened.

For a while everything went as planned. The robbers attacked the guards, took the money and tried to flee.

But things went awry, leaving one robber dead, two shot and wounded, and three others arrested after their vehicle’s tyres were shot out as they tried to flee. Another robber was arrested at the paypoint.

The events unfolded at Monty Motloung Community Hall in Duduza near Nigel, Ekurhuleni, on Friday morning. A white Quantum minibus taxi with an undisclosed number of men was parked near the hall.

No one was allowed inside the yard until the guards had dropped off the money inside the building.

Police spokesman Warrant Officer Yacoob Rasool said the robbers attacked the guards, took all five of their firearms and forced them to open the cash van.

A 28-year-old witness, who did not want to be identified, said he realised something was wrong as he was walking by.

“I saw a man manhandling a security guard, pushing him, and his hand pressed against the guard’s back with a gun.

“I immediately went to the nearby shops where I found two police officers. I told them what I had seen. They called for back-up,” the man said.

Meanwhile, the robbers had beaten up the guards, taken some of the money and fled.

However, one of the guards, who had a small firearm on him, chased after them in the cash van.

He fired at the robbers, wounding one in the hand and another in the abdomen before they crashed into a fence.

When the police arrived at the scene near the hall, they stopped a man walking down the street carrying a black schoolbag. “As they were searching him, he reached for his firearm and the police shot him. He died on the scene,” Rasool said. The schoolbag was filled with money.

When other officers arrived at the hall, they found the beaten security guards, the wounded robbers and firearms that the robbers had taken from the guards scattered around. The robbers had discarded their firearms and the ones they had taken from the guards just before they could flee.

The two injured robbers and another who was found at the hall were arrested.

While they were being arrested, the robbers received a call from their accomplices who had fled the scene in the Quantum, asking them what was taking them so long.

Rasool said the police told the arrested men to find out from their accomplices where they were. The detained men did just that and the police went there. When the robbers saw the police, they tried to flee but the police shot out the Quantum’s tyres and it came to a halt. The men were arrested.

All six suspects have been charged with robbery, attempted murder, possession of stolen property and the possession of an unlicensed firearm. - The Star