Cops probe spate of cash-in-transit heists

POLICE are investigating a suspected criminal syndicate believed to be behind a string of recent cash-in-transit heists in Newcastle in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

In the latest robbery on Tuesday, heavily armed robbers attacked and robbed Fidelity guards in Osizweni.

The robbers made off with a revolver and two trunks of cash. The amount stolen is estimated to be under R500000.

The robbers fled in a getaway BMW. One of the guards fired back, but injured a passenger in a passing taxi.

Police spokesperson Shooz Magudulela said yesterday that Fidelity guards were collecting money in a local shop when the robbers pounced.

He said one guard was in the car while the other one had gone to collect money in the shop.

Magudulela said one of the suspects confronted the Fidelity guard before he could get into the waiting van.

"The suspects pointed a firearm at the guard and removed his service pistol and then snatched the trunks of money before escaping from the scene," he said.

"It's clear that the suspects had been following the Fidelity vehicle."

Last week, in similar fashion, robbers stormed the Makhulukhulu store in Madadeni township and grabbed trunks of money from Fidelity guards.

Two weeks ago, the criminals robbed Fidelity guards at a petrol station in the area.

"Their tactics are similar - all the robberies happen in retail premises. We are investigating the link between the previous attacks in the area and this week's robbery," Magudulela said.

"No one has been arrested but we are on the suspects' heels."

Magudulela said the robbers are from Durban and Johannesburg.

"They target rural townships as they have identified loopholes in the security mechanisms," he said.

"They work in pairs and are armed and make off in a BMW."