Police arrest four people for two separate cash-in-transit robberies

Four men suspected of being part of two separate cash-in-transit robbery gangs in the Free State and the Eastern Cape were arrested this week after the police implemented its 72-hour Activation Plan.

Two of the men have appeared in court and the remaining two are in custody and have not yet made their first court appearance.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said the two Free State men, aged 28 and 30, appeared in the Senekal Magistrate's Court, east of Welkom, on Wednesday after they were arrested on Monday.

He said the arrest was carried out by a team comprising Crime Intelligence, the Hawks, the police's Tactical Response Team (TRT) as well as members of the local police.

READ: 'We are ready to fight fire with fire' – Gauteng MEC warns cash-in-transit criminals

The men were arrested on the N5 highway as they were allegedly waiting to ambush an armoured cash carrier. Police seized a VW Polo Vivo, two unlicensed pistols and ammunition.

In the second incident in the Eastern Cape, the 72-hour Activation Plan was implemented after a group of men shot at an armoured vehicle in Ngcobo on Monday.

Naidoo said the vehicle overturned and the suspects used explosives to gain access to the money boxes.

"[The] suspects fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of money in a double cab [vehicle] and a sedan, which they [allegedly] hijacked at the scene. The driver and the crew of the armoured vehicle were rescued with minor injuries," he said.

Naidoo said on Tuesday that police arrested two men in Alice in a multidisciplinary effort.

Police recovered a large amount of cash, a firearm and two suspected stolen Mercedes Benz. 

Minister of Police Bheki Cele reiterated his position that police would clamp down on cash-in-transit robberies.

"We are very serious about stamping the authority of the State and arrests of this nature are indications of our commitment to ensuring we put a permanent stop to this scourge of crimes and to create a safe and secure environment for all people of South Africa," he said.

"I am satisfied, particularly with Crime Intelligence in identifying and bringing suspects to book even before they are able to commit robberies on [cash-in-transit] vehicles."

National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole was happy with the 72-hour Activation Plan's success.

"I have, since the unfortunate massacre of our police officers at [Ngcobo] in the Eastern Cape earlier this year, ordered the immediate implementation of the 72-hour Activation Plan with great effect," he said.

"We will continue to toil in ensuring our constitutional and moral obligation toward the safety of the people of South Africa."

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