A man described as a ‘highly sought’ suspect has been arrested in Hillbrow in connection with a high-profile cash-in-transit robbery in July last year.
The suspect is believed to have been part of the six-person gang of heavily armed men who blew up an armoured cash van on a busy Rustenburg street on 20 July 2019.
Big police operation to nab 31-year-old
Police spokesperson Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso said the 31-year-old suspect was taken into custody on Friday in the high-rise Johannesburg suburb of Hillbrow by a ‘multi-pronged’ operation led by members of the Hawks’ Rustenburg National Priority Violent Crime.
They were assisted by members of National Crime Intelligence, Gauteng Special Law Enforcement Unit, Johannesburg Metro Police Department, National CIT Task Team and Johannesburg Flying Squad.
“The suspect is expected to appear at the Rustenburg Magistrate Court on Monday and more arrests cannot be ruled out,” Rikhotso said.
Last year’s heist came to national attention
Last year’s cash-in-transit heist in Rustenburg gained national attention when dramatic cellphone footage filmed at the scene went viral after being shared by prominent anti-crime activist Jusuf Abramjee.
The gang used two vehicles to force the armoured cash van to a halt, before blowing open its safe with explosives.
Footage from the scene shows the cash van and several other vehicles ablaze, as a crowd of onlookers rush to collect money blowing on the road.
CIT robberies are on the rise after lull
At the time of the robbery, Police spokeswoman Col Katlego Mogale said six suspects with automatic firearms jumped out of the vehicles and proceeded to blow open the van with explosives and took an undisclosed amount of cash.
“As they fled the scene, the men set fire to the vehicles they had used,” Mogale added.
While the recent lockdown saw a pause in cash-in-transit robberies, these are now on the rise again.
“When the lockdown began, we saw a complete lull in the number of attacks on cash vans,” said Abramjee in an interview with news channel eNCA last month.
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