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17 October 2011 at 13:07 - Posted by Anonymous

ATM robber forgot disguise


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This ATM robber forgot to pull down his balaclava as he entered a Maraisburg Road Engen shop on October 3. Photo: Handout/Supplied

It was a careless error committed by a dangerous armed robber that could allow you to help the police nab a gang of ATM bombers.

Police are hoping that a member of the public might recognise the face of an ATM bomber who forgot to pull his balaclava over his face during a robbery at the Maraisburg Road Engen on October 3. His mistake allowed CCTV cameras to capture a clear image of his face.

And it is this face that police and Crime Line hope the public can identify.

It took 10 minutes and 10 seconds for the group of eight men to raid the Absa ATM, leaving almost a dozen shoppers traumatised as they faced at least four AK-47s and a number of handguns.

Police believe this same gang has been linked to seven other attacks around Gauteng, including an armed robbery last week in Toekomsrus in Randfontein, where two police officers were seriously injured.

All 10 members of the highly organised gang are believed to be heavily armed and extremely dangerous, having used various firearms during each of the robberies.

The gang has in recent weeks reportedly hit areas like Florida, Dobsonville, Booysens, Sophiatown, Eldorado Park, Thokoza and Brackendowns.

In the Maraisburg Road incident at 7.50pm on October 3, eight armed men arrived at the Maraisburg Engen garage’s parking lot in a 1-ton white Nissan bakkie.

Two minutes later, a CCTV camera captured one of the thugs entering the building with an AK-47. He is the one who had forgotten to hide his face with his balaclava. On the footage, he quickly realises his mistake, turns around, draws the balaclava over his face and re-enters the shop.

Shop and petrol attendants quickly fled the scene, but 10 shoppers, including a metro cop, were left behind and held at gunpoint.

The CCTV footage also shows the men lead the uniformed metro police officer out of the shop. Outside he is disarmed, then returned to the shop, where he is told to lie down with the rest of the customers.

The robber, in what appears to be a celebratory gesture, kisses the barrel of the metro cop’s gun.

In the four minutes after first entering the shop, the robbers were able to set explosives on the Absa ATM and wire them to battery packs to power the detonators.

After clearing the shop of customers and robbers, the explosives were detonated, but failed to open the ATM.

A second charge was set up and this time the explosion blew open the thickly barricaded machine, allowing two of the robbers to start gathering cash.

A minute after the second explosion, as the robbers were gathering the loot, a woman and child entered the store. They were quickly apprehended and told to lie on the floor.

Moments later, the men fled the scene.

“We appeal to the public to please take a close look at his face and come forward with information on his whereabouts. Someone, somewhere, somehow knows these ATM bombers. Do the right thing and come forward with information to Crime Line and/or Crime Stop,” said Gauteng police spokesman Neville Malila.

Crime Line head Yusuf Abramjee has asked the public to ensure they give detailed information when submitting tip-offs.

“We want the who, what, when, where, why and how. However, we again warn the public not to approach these men and to pass on information anonymously.”

Detailed tip-offs should be sent to Crime Line’s 32211 SMS service or www.crimeline.co.za - The Star

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