There has been a shockingly sharp increase in the amount of cash-in-transit heist syndicates that have moved from specific, remote locations to inner-city areas due to the fact that the criminals are actually getting away with it. Fidelity CEO Wahl Bartmann has reviewed the videos and says that these syndicates "operate like well-oiled machines" and says that the robber actually organises the attack. He said its done in an almost professional manner, "If you look at the videos in the media, the people are well trained, and they are equipped. They don't even take one truck. They start taking two trucks in a metropolitan area. The way they handle themselves, they are professionals."
He said the robbers have "dedicated people doing certain things at a time. They have people who deal with the explosives. They [have] people who are shooting, and they have people who are specialised in driving. Where do they get the get the explosives and how do we control that? We have seen the influx of AK47s back in the country. So, a lot of that definitely impacts on our staff and on the morale of our people." The robbers struck again on the 21st of May in Limpopo when more than 10 men attacked the Fidelity van, bombing the vehicle and shooting at the crew sitting in the back, one of whom was wounded. The robbers escaped with an undisclosed amount of money without being caught.
The day before the Limpopo attack, police went sent to hunt down the eight suspects involved in a cash-in-transit heist at Southdale Mall, just outside the Johannesburg CBD. The robber surrounded the van, pointing guns at the driver, forcing him to open the van and escaped with an undisclosed amount of money. On the 17th of May, five robbers were arrested on the scene of a cash in transit heist after they blew up two G4S vans and the rest of the men escaped. The police have identified a trend that has emerged with the cash in transit heists of using explosives which is different to the previous incidents of cash in transit heists. Many explosives that were intended to be used in cash in transit heists have been taken which means that the police and investigators are looking at the robbers' methodology behind the crime in order to track them down via the channels they use to get explosives. The police are starting to close in on the supply lines they use, cutting them off from the ability to get explosives although this may not have an immediate effect.
The cash in transit vehicles are separated from the money they are carrying as it is held in a cabin that can be accessed by separating the cabin from the van which is what the criminals intend to do by using explosives. national Crime Intelligence head Peter Jacobs fears that the cash in transit industry has been using poor quality vans which may be making the attacks easier. Research and investigation also points to the fact that policemen are involved in these robberies and in the planning of the heist, delivering and accessing guns, sharing information and collaborating the attack in order to create a smooth operation and escape.
But Bartmann said Fidelity was doing everything in its power to curb the surge in cash-in-transit heists in South Africa. Fidelity has recruited extra security measures to prevent any more robberies including a helicopter "The security officers are all provided with bulletproof vests, semi-automatic rifles and we do training with them," he added. All Fidelity employees will also be put through a rigorous recruitment process involving polygraph tests before they are employed and during their employment period. "We do lifestyle audits, we do criminal vetting and everything that is necessary. We try and make sure that the people we employ are honest and we can rely on them. Our recruitment qualifications are very high."
The spokesperson for G4S Wendy Hardy released a statement saying that her attention would be on the safety of their staff. "We are at the forefront of innovative and ever-changing technologies that protect our drivers and make it harder and more dangerous for criminals who try to target our vehicles. "We are evolving and rolling out new security features all the time, so criminals can never know what they are up against," Hardy said.
Warning: video contains strong language