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More arrests for ATM bombings

By unknown | Mar 08, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Thembela Khamango

Thembela Khamango

The police arrested two more men yesterday in Zola, Soweto, for ATM bombings. The men were allegedly found with powerful explosives and and stolen loot.

The cops said last week that they had bust a syndicate they believed was behind most of the ATM bombings in Gauteng.

They arrested six people after officers kept an ATM in Johannesburg under surveillance after a tip-off.

Police spokesman Eugene Opperman said last week that officers were investigating whether they could pin other bombings on the gang.

Early yesterday morning police pounced on another two men, both aged 30. They were nabbed at their homes in Zola.

One man was allegedly found with commercial explosives stored in his living room.

An expert, who asked to remain anonymous, said the confiscated explosives were of the type used in mines.

Late last year national crime statistics revealed that the police had made a significant dent in cash-in-transit heists across the country.

But many of the frustrated cash-van hijackers seem to have switched to bombing ATMs.

Many of the bombings have failed to produce the goods for the robbers, who either burn or blast the banknotes to smithereens.

On January 27 a Standard Bank ATM was blown up in Paardekraal, near Rustenburg, but the robbers fled empty-handed. Inspector Erica Roos said it had been the second unsuccessful ATM blast in the area.

On February 4 three men blew up an ATM in Mahushu, near Hazyview, Mpumalanga, with a gas bottle. They also fled empty-handed.

"When the police arrived they saw three men running into the veld.

"By then the machine had been blown up with a gas cylinder, but the thieves failed to get the money," said Inspector Jiyela Sibiya.

Superintendent Thembi Nkwashu said yesterday that the police were investigating whether the suspects arrested could be linked to other ATM bombings.

"For now, the suspects are charged with possession of explosives and money stolen from an ATM," said Nkwashu.

An ATM was blown up in Cape Town yesterday - a first for the city.


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