A successful criminal aims to stay one step ahead of law enforcement, outwitting those that try and bring them to justice.
Given the state of the SAPS Crime Intelligence Division (“a hot mess”), you’d be forgiven for thinking that’s really not too hard, and the sheer number of successful cash-in-transit heists in South Africa really is worrying.
One of the more recent heists, which took place in Cape Town on Saturday, has the cash-in-transit industry in turmoil, due in part to the novel approach taken by the crooks.
In case you missed it, a cash-in-transit guard was hijacked, kidnapped, forced to remove cash from several ATMs, and then let go with explosives strapped to his body.
Via TimesLIVE, this is a really disturbing development:
“This is alarming. It’s a totally new tactic, and is driven by the improved security to cash vans,” criminologist Dr Hennie Lochner told TimesLIVE.
He warned that news of the new modus operandi would spread quickly among CIT robbery gangs.
“This is what the Islamic State has been doing. The problem with an attack like this is that you can kill all the robbers on the scene, but the bomb’s trigger man can be somewhere else, with a cellphone, and all he needs to do is make the call to the device and the bomb goes off.
“This is going to get a lot worse. It shows how vulnerable CIT guards are. What happens when these robbers start strapping explosives to civilians?”
The stress of being a cash-in-transit security officer is already through the roof, and now criminals are strapping bombs to their bodies.
Grant Clark, Cash-In-Transit Association of SA head, told TimesLIVE that the attack was alarming, and that the new method endangered the lives of the public as well.
According to a source who spoke with Sunday Times Daily, the guard was strapped with around two kilograms of explosives, “which would have been enough to blow the guard to smithereens and seriously injure anyone close by”.
The source said the investigation was focusing on a number of aspects around the bomb and its design, including the origin of the explosives.
“That is going to be crucial to solving this crime and stopping this incident from becoming a trend. Given the amount of cash heist gangs operating in SA, if this thing escalates there are definitely going to be people who are going to die.”
The guard who had the explosives strapped to him this past weekend is being offered counselling in order to deal with the emotional strain of the ordeal, and that’s something the criminals know plays into their hands.
Here’s Albert Erasmus, IziCash CEO:
“Previous attacks have always been carried out with a huge amount of force designed to cause maximum damage. This kind of attack though is far more psychological.
“Once you take someone hostage, you do not need all the explosives and force to get to your objective. You play on the emotions of guards who would want to save their colleague’s life.
He says the industry will need to pool their resources in order to find measures to combat these new tactics.
It’s clear that the cash-in-transit gangs will stop at nothing to get what they’re after.
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