Gang turns on sharp shooter

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

A gang of thugs robbed a cash van of more than R2million but 10 hours later,their sharpshooter was taken out in a squabble over the spoils.

That's the theory the Mpumalanga police are working on in a bid to solve the cash-in-transit crime that shook Karino near Nelspruit on Monday afternoon.

"We are trying to connect the two cases because one does not need the wisdom of Solomon to establish the possibility of a link between the armed robbery and the shooting to death of the suspect," Superintendent Abie Khoabane said yesterday.

The drama started on Monday afternoon at about 2.30pm when heavily armed robbers travelling in three vehicles - an Opel Corsa, a Hundai half-ton truck and an unidentified bakkie - surprised three security guards transporting cash.

"The robbers opened fire on the security guards who immediately stopped their vehicle and surrendered," Khoabane said.

"The robbers pointed AK-47 assault rifles at the guards and threatened to burn them alive if they did not cooperate."

He said the criminals took an undisclosed amount of cash but Sowetan has reliably learnt that more than R2 million was stolen.

Police later found the three vehicles abandoned at the nearby Tekwane South Trust. Khoabane said the police established that some of the vehicles had been reported stolen.

No arrests were made but 10 hours later it was reported that a man, who was on a list of most-wanted suspects in the area, was shot and killed in Masoyi.

Reports indicated that he had been shot in a fight over his share of the money that police believe was stolen in the heist.

The police are working on the theory that Edward Maphanga, known as Luvero, was shot dead by his cronies in a violent fight over the loot.

No arrests have been made regarding the shooting and Khoabane asked members of the community with information to call the nearest police station.

Luvero was apparently a hero to teenage boys because of his sharpshooting skills but he was a thorn in the side of the law-abiding residents in his area.

"The suspect was wanted in connection with a number of serious cases," Khoabane said.