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‘Crash-in-transit’ and screaming teller foil robbery bids

A petrol station robbery and cash-in-transit heist were thwarted at the weekend – one by a screaming teller in Sidwell and the other when the criminals totalled their vehicle after smashing the side of an armoured Fidelity bakkie in Kwazakhele.
The botched heist saw a gang of heavily armed robbers flee empty-handed after ramming the armoured bakkie and then firing at least 28 shots at the vehicle on Saturday in Kwazakhele.
The transit bakkie came to a stop after being rammed by a gang of five armed men driving a suspected stolen bakkie.
The incident happened as security guards were leaving the Njoli Shopping Centre after dropping cash off at the complex’s Nedbank ATM.
Officials confirmed that security guards had just replenished the complex’s ATM when they were ambushed as they turned into Mancam Street from Meke Street.
“The actual attempted robbery was in Mancam Street when the vehicle came speeding up to it from one of the side streets,” an official said.
“The armoured bakkie came to a halt on impact and, due to the impact of the crash, collided into a nearby street pole.
“Straight after the collision, the suspects abandoned their bakkie and charged at the Fidelity vehicle while shooting at it with R5 rifles.”
Two R5 assault rifles were stolen during the robbery of the Kareedouw police station in August and have still not been recovered.
“The security guards managed to reverse their vehicle and speed off. While speeding off, several shots were fired,” the official said.
“They drove straight to the police station and someone also called the police.”
By the time the police arrived, the suspects had already fled on foot.
Police found the bakkie, abandoned and disabled, in Mancam Street.
“The vehicle has been impounded,” an official said.
The bakkie was found to have false Eastern Cape number plates and has been taken for forensic testing.
National police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo confirmed the incident and said they were investigating.
About six hours after the heist, four robbers also escaped empty-handed when they tried to rob the Sasol service station convenience store in Commercial Road, Sidwell.
The incident happened at about 6pm on Saturday, with all four of the robbers posing as customers inside the store.
Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said the 26-year-old teller had been serving customers when one of the men confronted her with a firearm.
“The man demanded she open the cash register and hand over the money,” she said.
“The teller started to scream, which attracted the attention of the petrol attendants outside,” she said.
“They went to investigate and all four men ran out of the store and fled on foot.”
Naidu said they, too, had escaped with no money.
No arrests have been made in either of the incidents.

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