File picture: SAPS (Twitter)

DURBAN – Two men fled with an undisclosed amount of cash and firearms after a cross-pavement cash-in-transit heist at a Boxer store in Vryheid on Monday morning, KwaZulu-Natal police said.

South African Police Services’ spokesperson, Brigadier Vish Naidoo, the incident took place at around 11am.

“Guards from a security company were about to load money into an ATM machine at a supermarket in Vryheid when they were confronted by two armed suspects, one of which fired a shot and demanded money,” said Naidoo.  

“The suspects fled with an undisclosed amount of money and at least two firearms from security guards. The vehicle used by the suspects was later discovered abandoned about 10 kilometres away from the scene. No injuries have been reported. No arrests as yet.”

According to a witness who was at the store at the time of the incident: “They fired one shot into the ATM and then took the boxes of cash and ran out to a car outside. The whole thing took less than a minute,” said the witness.

“By the time police arrived about 10 minutes later they were gone already, but the police took statements,” he said. No one inside the store was injured, said the witness, “but people were terrified and some staff were still crying hours later”.

South Africa is experiencing a spate of CIT heists, mostly in the Gauteng area. However, experts have warned of the possibility that as police crack down in one province, the heavily armed gangs may simply move to other areas.

Just last week, police foiled two attempted KZN heists. One attempt was made on a van travelling on the R34 between Nkwalini and Empangeni, near the Mfuli game reserve.

That incident was foiled after intelligence was received and the special task force and national intervention unit intervened. An officer was injured during the incident but no money was taken.

The day before, another heist was foiled after a shootout between suspects and the van’s security guards. That incident took place along the R68 between Dundee and Nqutu.

Last month, three security guards had to be hospitalised after a successful heist in the midlands area of the province. That incident saw a CIT vehicle travelling from Msinga to Greytown being ambushed after collecting cash at the Msinga Mall. Suspects used explosives to access the vehicle and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash.

African News Agency (ANA)