Cash-in-transit robbers handed hefty jail sentences

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File picture

The sentences should serve as a warning to criminals that committing crime guarantees lengthy jail time.

Three cash-in-transit robbers have been sentenced in the East London Regional Court to lengthy prison terms for a 2016 robbery at Capitec Bank in East London, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) said on Saturday.

Zukile Vimbela, 41, Mfana Selby Gomba, 33, and Bulelani Luningo, 37 were sentenced on Friday, Hawks spokesperson Captain Anelisa Ngcakani said.

On the September 17, 2016 at about 11am, security guards from G4S security company were offloading cash from their vehicle into the bank when about six armed men confronted them with firearms and disarmed them. The men then stormed into Capitec Bank, forced staff and security guards into the bank vault, locked them inside the vault, and fled with about R1.6 million.

The Hawks’ Serious Organised CrimeIinvestigation unit started its investigation and, with the assistance of an informer, managed to track down the black BMW used by the robbers as a getaway vehicle.

Members of the unit traced it two days after the robbery to Kei Bridge as Vimbela and other people were driving to East London. The Hawks positively linked Vimbela to the robbery and arrested him on the same day, Ngcakani said.

Gomba and Luningo were arrested by South African Police Service (SAPS) officers in Gugulethu in Cape Town two days after the heist. They were arrested for unlawful possession of firearms – a pistol and a revolver. Investigations positively linked the pistol as one of the firearms robbed from the G4S security guards in East London.

The East London Regional court sentenced Vimbela to 10 years imprisonment for armed robbery. Gomba was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for armed robbery, 30 years for possession of two unlicensed firearms, and five years for possession of ammunition.

Luningo received 20 years imprisonment for armed robbery, 30 years for possession of two unlicensed firearms, and five-years for possession of ammunition. The sentences of Gomba and Luningo would run concurrently, Ngcakani said.

Hawks head Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya welcomed the sentences. “Organised criminal groups are a real threat to the safety of the community. These sentences, which are a culmination of continuous partnership by all role-players, should serve as a warning to other serious organised criminal groups, that committing crime guarantees one lengthy jail time.

“We continue to work closely with crime intelligence to disrupt and combat syndicates involved in cash-in-transit robberies,” he said.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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