South Africa: Daring thugs use explosives to blow apart ATM, steal cash

for Tv47 Digital December 23, 2022, 07:41 AM
South Africa ATM bomb thugs
The hoodlums bombed the ATM at Embalenhle, Mpumalanga province, 300kms from Jo'burg and made away with cash. PHOTOS/COURTESY

In Summary

  • Their antics are so bold, brazen and downright crude that they make those by Kenyan thugs look like a Vicars’ tea party.
  • The book Heist! South Africa's cash-in-transit Epidemic by Anneliese Burgess explores this uniquely South African problem. 

If you thought thugs in Kenya are daring, then you’ve not heard about those in Mzansi –the ‘Rainbow nation.’

Their antics are so bold, brazen and downright crude that they make those by Kenyan thugs look like a Vicars’ tea party.

South African criminals, particularly those who target hard cash, leave nothing to chance in their dare-devilry pursuit of money that’s not theirs.

In one of the latest get-rich-or-die schemes, four hoodlums stormed a petrol station in Mpumalanga province 300 kilometres from Johannesburg and held staff at gunpoint. It was 3:20am, Thursday December 22.

They then detonated explosives at an ATM to access cash. “The suspects made off with an undisclosed amount of cash which they took from the said machine,” South African Police Service spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said.

Using a panic button, the besieged staff alert private security who arrived at the scene, prompting an exchange of fire. 

“Police at Embalenhle were informed about the robbery, and upon arrival, a case of robbery with an additional charge of ATM Bombing was opened. The investigators will also probe the shooting which occurred,” added the police spokesperson.

Sadly, this was not an isolated incident. The incidents are so frequent that they spawned a book Heist! South Africa's cash-in-transit Epidemic by Anneliese Burgess. 

Popular anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee says the gangs usually number 10 to 20 and often use AK47 assault rifles, and commercial-grade explosives that allow them to blow the back of cash-in-transit vans off and walk away with the money. 

  • In February this year, 10 robbers were killed after Johannesburg police foiled a cash-in-transit robbery attempt. Police received a tip-off and deployed a helicopter to fend off the robbery. 
  • In May 2021, a video that went viral showed two security men in a cash-in-transit vehicle shooting back at thugs following an ambush along a South African highway. HERE 



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