Prior to the brazen heist at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, where an estimated R200 million in foreign currency was seized at a cargo bay, it has now emerged officials at Africa’s biggest airport were reportedly given a warning about 90 minutes before the robbery last week.
The Times reports that the daring operation by robbers masquerading as policemen in vehicles with police markings, sirens and blue lights could have been stopped, but officers on duty had failed to answer their phones after a junior officer received an anonymous phone call tipping off police.
“The Times has established that the warning about the heist on Tuesday last week was phoned in to the police charge office at the airport. The anonymous caller gave detailed information. The call was at about 6pm – nearly an hour and a half before the crime.
“But instead of senior officers reacting, it was left to the junior officer who took the anonymous call to raise the alarm.
“The alarm was not only raised with senior police officers but also with Airports Company of SA (Acsa) officials and airport security personnel, including guards at gates around the airport,” the paper reported.
Acsa has reportedly refused to comment on the alleged warnings, while earlier this week on Tuesday, acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane said police were treating the reports of a tip-off as “rumours”.
The paper also reported that two of the suspects arrested with involvement in the OR Tambo heist were Zimbabweans who were caught by Polokwane Crime Intelligence officers with nearly R100 000 in cash.
They were reportedly caught when they were about to cross the border into Zimbabwe.