POLICE in Limpopo foiled a Cash In Transit heist in Tzaneen and in the process arrested four men. A multidisciplinary police team comprising of Crime Intelligence and a Tracking Team managed to foil the robbery at a filling station and arrested the suspects.
“The team was activated by crime intelligence for a possible CIT robbery at a filling station and they conducted an observation operation. They noticed a white VW Polo TSI with MP registration number scouting the place and found that the registration number was false,” said National Commissioner of Police, General Khehla John Sitole.
“There were also four suspicious men in the vicinity. As the [officers] approached the Polo and the suspicious men‚ the cash vehicle came in.”
A shootout and a car chase ensued and the four suspects were apprehended with one of them sustaining a gunshot wound while the fifth suspect, who was armed, managed to flee the scene on foot with police on his trail.
A VW Polo and a silver BMW were seized during the operation. Police Minister Bheki Cele applauded the police for what he said was a swift action.
“We applaud the swift action of our members in blue. We will not rest until we win the war on the scourge of cash in transit robberies. It is our responsibility to prevent, combat, investigate crime and create a safe and secure environment for South Africans,” Cele said.
“The authority of the state will be felt and heard, we will continue with our pro-active approach in intercepting these robberies and squeeze the space for criminals,” he added.
The country has seen an increase in Cash In Transit heists since the start of the year. There have been over 140 cash-in-transit robberies since January compared to 129 heists recorded in the same period last year.
Limpopo has also seen its fair share of robberies. In June, African Times reported that the Hawks arrested seven suspects in Seshego and Groblersdal in connection with a CIT heist where the suspects allegedly robbed an SBV vehicle on the Matlala road outside Polokwane.
In another case also taking place in June, police arrested four cash-in-transit robbers in Hoedspruit after they pulled off a cash delivery robbery.
Sitole has commended the Crime Intelligence and Tracking Team for swiftly acting on information that led to the arrests.
“CIT robberies threaten the safety of our communities as these brazen criminals do not hesitate to shoot their way out when confronted with possible arrest. I have to commend the bravery of our members who did not back down during a shoot-out and managed to arrest these suspects before they could commit robbery. This is as the result of the police’s pursuance on stamping the authority of the state,” Sitole said.
Cele recently announced that police were making inroads in the fight against CIT’s. He said since April, they have seen a decline of 63%.
He said the decline was largely prompted by the arrest of various syndicates involved in these robberies.
“We have made inroads in breaking the backs of syndicates involved in CIT robberies. While I am satisfied with the progress made the journey is still long. From April 15 until June 1 CIT robberies have declined by 63%,” said Cele.
Cele said half of the robberies recorded throughout the country happened in Gauteng. He said 42 suspected cash-in-transit robbers have been arrested so far. One of those arrested was Wellington “Bibi” Cenenda, who is believed to be have been responsible for more than 20 CIT robberies. Cenenda was arrested in the Free State.