2006-11-01 : 'Outgunned' police flee gang members

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2006-11-01 : 'Outgunned' police flee gang members

Postby GOSA » Wed, 2006-11-01 09:44

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?from=rss_Crime%20And%20Courts&set_id=1&click_id=15&art_id=vn20061101034015544C470897

'Outgunned' police flee gang members

November 01 2006 at 04:52AM

A witness says police sped away from a cash-in-transit heist outside Pretoria because they were not as heavily armed as the robbers.

The policemen who apparently refused to help were from Letlhabile police station in the North West.

The 15-man gang, armed with an assortment of automatic assault rifles, launched their attack as a Red Eagle Security van drove along the R566 towards Rosslyn on Tuesday.

The van, according Red Eagle general manager Hennie Grobler, was on its way to several banks after collecting money from shops in Ga-Rankuwa.

'They said they only had pistols and would be killed'

The robbers rammed the van at the intersection with the M17 and then opened fire as the injured guards crawled out of their wrecked vehicle. While several of the gunmen grabbed two bags of money from the front of the van, others opened fire on motorists who had stopped to assist at the "accident".

The police arrived, but, said a witness, sped off suddenly.


Motorist Pieter Steyn, who was metres behind the cash van when it was attacked, was hiding in his car behind a truck when he spotted the policemen fleeing.

"I could not believe it when I saw the police van do a U-turn and race off. I gave chase and forced them off the road about 2km from the robbery," he said. He nearly fell over when the policemen told him that they would not help because they had "inferior guns".

"They said they only had pistols and would be killed."

'There was dust and people with guns everywhere'

When he asked if they could call for back-up, the policemen told him they had no radios and no one was answering the police station telephone, Steyn said.

Frans Deysel, a driver for the Tshwane University of Technology, also stopped to help when he saw what he thought was an accident.

As he stopped a man wearing a balaclava and brandishing an AK-47 ran towards him, ordering him to wind down his window. He obeyed but the man pushed the gun barrel against his forehead and threatened to kill him before grabbing the car keys and running back to his accomplices. "I thought I was dead," said the visibly shaken father of two.

Motorists Gerhard van der Poel and Thinus Redelinghuys, who were shot at while trying to rescue the guards, said it was chaos.

"There was dust and people with guns everywhere. I did not know what was happening," said Redelinghuys, who tried to pull a guard with a head wound to safety.

He said when two gunmen ran at him shooting, he jumped into his car and sped off.

"I just tried to get out of there as quickly as possible," he said.

ER24 spokesperson Werner Vermaak said the guards were taken to Eugene Marais Hospital where they were in a stable condition.

# Pretoria police spokesperson Inspector Katlego Mogale confirmed the attack, saying two bags of money had been stolen.

She said no arrests had been made.

Police were searching for the gunmen, who had fled in a BMW and a bakkie.

"We take the allegations that the police refused to help very seriously and have launched an immediate investigation," she said.

Anyone with information on the identity or whereabouts of the gunmen can contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111. - Staff Reporter

o This article was originally published on page 1 of Pretoria News on November 01, 2006
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