R1m reward for heist info

Armed robbers filmed robbing a cash van in Athlone. One security guard was killed during the incident. His employer SBV Services are offering R1 million to anyone with information that will lead to the arrest of the five robbers.

A R1 million reward is being offered for information after a security guard was shot dead and his partner left in a critical condition during a cash-in-transit robbery at the Rawoot Centre, corner of Klipfontein and Carnier roads, Athlone, on Saturday April 1, around 9.30am.

An undisclosed amount of money was also taken from the three SBV Services security guards.

According to Sergeant Zita Norman, Athlone police station’s spokeswoman, the two guards were loading money at the FNB ATM.

The driver got out of the van and opened the door on the side of the vehicle for his colleagues to get out. The first guard exited the vehicle with a rifle, followed by his colleague with a cashbox containing about R300 000.

As the driver got back into the van, he heard gunshots and as he got out, he saw his colleague had been shot.

Sergeant Norman said that no arrests had been made and six cartridges were found on the scene.

Both security guards who were shot were 44 years old.

Aziza Kannemeyer, Athlone community police forum (CPF) chairwoman, said she believed the robbery had been well-planned. “This was well thought-through seeing that it was month-end and social grants were paid out.

“The sad reality is that the people who were just doing their jobs became victims,” said Ms Kannemeyer.

She said SBV Services should take extra measures to protect their employees.

“There must be additional security to escort those who are delivering the money, with additional safety training. The reality is the people who are responsible for safeguarding either money or property are the ones that are paid little. The crime in this province is getting out of control.

“We need to have a focused approach in dealing with these factors,” said Ms Kannemeyer.

In a media statement Mark Barrett, chief executive officer of SBV Services SA, said he was deeply saddened that one of his employees had lost his life during the attack and that another employee is in a critical condition.

“I wish to extend our sincere condolences to the family of our staff member who passed away and also hope that our injured staff member currently being treated in hospital, recovers speedily from the injury. I also wish to commend our team for their bravery in defending this violent attack,” said Mr Barrett.

He said that SBV’s risk and compliance team was working with the authorities to apprehend the perpetrators.

“We take the loss of life seriously and are utilising all of our resources to ensure that the individuals responsible for this violent attack are apprehended and brought to justice. We are horrified by the ongoing violent attacks against the cash-in-transit industry,ouremployees and society at large and urgently appeal to members of the public with information on this attack, or any other cash-in-transit-related crime to notify SBV Services or the SAPS immediately,” he said.

Last month the Athlone News also reported on a cash-in-transit robbery on Monday March 6, outside the Hello Store in Murton Road, Rylands.

Robbers made off with six bags containing an unknown amount of money (“Robbers on the run”, Athlone News, March 15). In that case, Sergeant Norman said a security guard had been picking up money from different shops. When he got to Hello Store, he went to get six bags containing cash.

As he was walking back to the vehicle, three men came running towards him and pointed a firearm at him. He was told to keep quiet and to hand over the bag of money.

The man then put his hands in the air and one of the robbers hit him with the firearm on his neck. The robbers grabbed the bag with the money and the man’s company firearm, a .38 special revolver, and his cellphone.

“They did not take the remote that opens the bag. One of the guys said let’s shoot this dog and the complainant then ran to the passage next to the Hello Store to go and hide. The complainant did not see the direction in which the guy were running,” said Sergeant Norman. The firearm and six rounds of ammunition that was stolen belongs to G4S Security.

Anyone with information about Saturday’s fatal incident can call the SBV Early Warning Robbery Hotline at 083 408 7029.