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'We'll nail criminals and end crime'

By unknown | Aug 15, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

Police have given ATM bombers a choice - stop your activities now or be forced to do so.

This warning comes after a gang of eight men were cornered at a house in Devland, Johannesburg, shortly after they had bombed an ATM. The men tried to stuff money into their shirts before making a futile attempt to escape.

Police say they are now beginning to win the war against criminals and will stop at nothing to end crime completely.

Gauteng police spokesman Phuti Setati said yesterday that criminals "had nowhere to hide".

"Our message to them is that they have a choice - either stop or we will force you to stop. We are going to continue to make sure that our people are not held to ransom by criminals," he said.

At the forefront of fighting the often heavily-armed ATM bombers is the SAPS's national intervention unit. Setati said the team works closely with the crime intelligence unit.

Police spokesman Superintendent Eugene Opperman said the drama in Devland began shortly after midnight when an ATM was attacked at a QuickSpar in Ridgeway, southern Johannesburg.

A few minutes later, a police helicopter spotted four cars leaving the scene.

"The chopper followed the cars to a house in Devland. The task team surrounded the house. The suspects inside realised it was over and some of them tried to stuff money into their shirts. The men were arrested," he said.

No shots were fired and nobody was injured.

The suspects, aged between 25 and 45, will face charges of theft, malicious damage to property and various charges under the Explosives Act. They will also face charges of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. Police believe that this gang may be linked to other ATM blasts.

Two AK-47 assault rifles, an R5 rifle, an R4 rifle, a handgun and the money stolen from the ATM machine were seized.


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