Kingdom Mabuza and Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi
For about 10 minutes, Metro cops watched the men who had just brazenly raided the Johannesburg high court and removed sensitive evidence related to a R46 million bank robbery.
"The two Metro police had raced to the Joburg high court after getting radio message that there was a robbery there," said Joburg Metro Police spokesman Wayne Minnaar last night.
"When they got there they saw about 10 to 15 individuals in police uniform and thought they were colleagues.
"So they sat in their car and watched. Suddenly these men jumped into a Mercedez Benz Iveco and a black double cab. The cops followed them through Pritchard street towards the west.
"The two vehicles turned right into Sauer street and the double cab stopped and the occupants suddenly opened fire on the Metro cops with high calibre weapons.
"The Metro cops took cover and the two vehicles disappeared."
Minnaar said the call to his men was made shortly before Sunday midnight. This was more than an hour after the raid had begun.
The documents they stole are about the robbery of R46 million - the biggest in the country's history - from an FNB depot in Johannesburg in February 2006.
State prosecutor advocate Charin De Beer said seven men dressed as police officers escorted a woman into the building and summoned all the guards for an identity parade because one of them had raped her.
"They claimed to be police officers who had came to arrest a guard for rape. Once inside the yard they held guards at gunpoint and some swiftly moved to prosecutors offices.
"They knew what they were looking for and after laying their hands on the case docket and other sensitive documents, they disappeared," said a source.
They tied the men and went up to the 12th floor office of senior prosecutor Deon van Wyk and removed the FNB case docket and other sensitive documents.
"They spent about an hour in the prosecutor's office," De Beer said.
They then went back to the ground floor and straight to the security control room. "They ripped CCVtv cameras and boxes off the walls as they went," said a security guard who did not want to be named.
The robbers then left the building and apparently joined the group that was watched by the two Metro police.
De Beer said the security guards screamed to people passing through the street for help. A member of the public untied them.
The FNB robbery case, which was expected to be heard at Court 4C yesterday, was postponed to May 5.
"We have duplicates of the docket and all suspects in the case are still in custody," said De Beer.