Woman killed in Eastern Cape cash-in-transit heist

Crime scene police tape. File picture
Crime scene police tape. File picture

A woman was killed and a man injured after being hit by stray bullets during a cash-in-transit heist on the N2 in the Eastern Cape.

The 30-year-old woman was driving past the heist at about 6.30pm on Monday when she was hit. 

By 9:30pm, police had arrested two of the suspects at a petrol station in Mthatha.

According to the latest crime statistics, cash-in-transit heists between 2017 and 2018 have spiked in the province.

The latest figures show 23 heists compared to 11 heists in the 2016/17 period.

Police spokesman Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said the suspects were traveling in a light delivery vehicle when they fired shots at the armoured van – forcing it to stop.

“They then disarmed the three security guards, tied them up and forced open the safe, removing an undisclosed amount of money as well as three firearms belonging to the security guards were taken,” he said.

“During the shooting, three vehicles that were passing at the time of the incident, were hit by stray bullets. A 30-year-old woman was shot and killed and a man who was wounded was rushed to hospital.” 

Naidoo said the 72-hour activation plan was immediately implemented and a manhunt launched for the robbers.

The plan saw several policing units, including Crime Intelligence, Hawks, Forensic Experts, tactical team, activated to track down the gang.

“The team initially found an abandoned vehicle in Maclear. Within hours thereafter, at approximately 9:30pm, they tracked down a vehicle with no number plates at a filling station in Mthatha,” Naidoo said.

“While searching the said vehicle, damaged money and unlicensed CZ75 pistol were confiscated and the two men, believed to be linked to the said robbery, were arrested. Police are still searching for the remaining suspects.”

National police commissioner General Khehla John Sitole said a manhunt was still underway.

“We will not rest until we win the war on the scourge of aggravated robberies, particularly cash-in-transit robberies.

“It is our responsibility to prevent, combat, investigate crime and create a safe and secure environment for South Africans. The arrest of these suspects must serve as a deterrence to others,” he said.

“It is however extremely disturbing that innocent people are caught in the middle of such heinous crimes. As I convey my sincere condolences to the families of the woman and I wish the wounded man a speedy recovery, I want to assure the nation that we will do everything possible to track down all those responsible and ensure that they face the full brunt of the law.”

The two suspects, aged 25 and 29 years, are expected to appear in the Mthatha Magistrate's Court by Thursday.

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