There have been 96 cash-in-transit heists in Gauteng in the past nine months with police recovering R95 million in stolen cash, the community safety department says.
Most of the armed robbers managed to get away and have not yet been arrested.
“Between August 2017 and May 22, 2018, a total number of 96 cash-in-transit cases have been reported, while 44 armored vehicles were attacked with 52 of them taking place on cross pavement carriers,” the department said.
“Very few suspects were arrested, there are only 11 cases where arrests were made while 85 suspects are still at large. The actual number of suspects arrested to date amounts to 26 in total.”
The department said R95 million in cash has been recovered from the scene and the suspects. In addition, firearms and other items have been recovered. The guns include eight AK-47 rifles, R-5, R-4, BM 4, and 11 9mm pistols.
As many as 16 vehicles were recovered from the suspects.
Two police radios and two military bulletproof vests were also recovered.
The department said there were two warrants of arrest that were yet to be executed.
MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane met with law enforcement agencies on Monday to come up with ways to curb the increasing spate of cash-in-transit heists that add to the escalating violent crimes gripping South Africa.
“Criminals are proving to be sophisticated lately, therefore a collective approach to deal with cash-in-transit heists is critical,” she said.
“It is important that we commit our resources and engage all the law-enforcement agencies in the province to deal with this challenge. We cannot allow these criminals to walk our streets and instil fear among citizens.
“I have instructed the crime intelligence team to work around the clock to ensure that all suspects linked to the heists are arrested and ensure that a maximum sentence is imposed [by the courts of law].”
In his budget speech last week, Police Minister Bheki Cele said tactical response and tracking teams would be deployed in medium- to high-risk intelligence operations dedicated to fighting high priority crimes, including cash-in-transit heists.
– African News Agency