The ‘Gucci Guy’ bank robber spotter is on the run again after the case was dropped due to insufficient evidence

Picture: Soraya Crowie/African News Agency (ANA)

Picture: Soraya Crowie/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 26, 2023


Johannesburg - He is the Gucci Guy, a hardened criminal with a taste for fine clothes who once again is on the run after a raid that saw him snatched from a security estate in Pretoria.

To those who have been hunting him he is known for his shopping sprees at the Louis Vuitton and Gucci stores in Sandton City. He is also known for his long wrap sheet that goes back to 2017.

What the Gucci guy is, is a bank spotter who until recently worked with a gang of robbers who terrorised the Nelspruit area, in Mpumalanga.

But this all changed thanks to a sharp eyed policeman.

The bank spotter’s job in the gang is to loiter in a bank often pretending to deposit cash while noticing the customers who happen to withdraw large amounts of money.

That customer is then followed and robbed often as they arrive at their homes. In more recently brazen attacks, the customers have been robbed in the bank, before they leave the premises.

They are known as associated robbers, and this gang with their spotter has been linked to robberies in Gauteng and even in the North West. Then in May this year law enforcement began noticing an uptick in associated robberies in Nelspruit.

On May 30, a farmer was robbed in the parking lot of a mall after withdrawing R170 000. The robbers also made off with a gun he had in his bag.

A month later a mother and her daughter were robbed of R55 000 in cash and R80 000 worth of jewellery. The gang had followed them from a bank and robbed them inside a municipal office. The common link to these cases was a white VW golf GTI, with false plates.

Then there were the alleged images of the Gucci Guy taken from CCTV footage from inside the bank as he scouted for victims.

As the Gucci guy has not pleaded in a court of law, his name can’t be published.

“We started getting associated robberies in Nelspruit from May and before that they were unheard of,” said an investigator, who has to remain anonymous, as they are not authorised to speak to the press.

Investigators were able to track the GTI, discovering that the alleged robbers would arrive a day before and sleep over in a B&B. Then Gucci guy would allegedly work the banks, on the look out for a victim to follow and rob.

But then on June 28, the gang’s luck changed when an undercover policeman on patrol in the Centurion CBD noticed that the number plate on a white GTI just wasn’t right. The sequence of numbers on the plate was too old for the new vehicle.

Realising that the vehicle was being sought and the occupants likely armed, the policemen, according to police sources, initiated a tactical takedown. They moved quickly, forcing the men from the GTI.

In the car, police found four unlicensed firearms, their serial numbers filed off, and a false number plate on the back seat.

What the police didn’t find was the gang’s spotter. Investigators would have to wait another two months, when a source revealed where he was hiding. The residence was inside the gated Equestrian Estate in Pretoria.

On the night of August 16, law enforcement came for the Gucci Guy.

He jumped from the balcony and tried to make a run for it. He didn’t get far. Once in handcuffs he allegedly tried to bribe an officer, saying he would give R20 000 for the name of the snitch who pointed out where he was staying. He then asked if he could take a pair of Gucci slippers with him to jail.

On Monday, he appeared in the Krugersdorp Magistrate’s Court. This was related to a robbery he was alleged to have been involved in on May 26, when a couple were robbed after leaving a bank in the Key West Mall in Roodepoort. But to the surprise of investigators, the spotter who they had been looking for for years walked.

National Prosecutor Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said the case wasn’t placed on the roll because of insufficient evidence. The man was allowed to leave.

Now those who have been chasing him feel they are back to square one.

“The problem is that we will never catch him again,” said the investigator.