Johannesburg: A Mpumalanga police officer is behind bars for allegedly being one of the people behind a cash-in-transit heist, where an undisclosed amount of money was stolen.
Two other police officers were also taken in for questioning, but were released as they could not be linked to the crime.
R30 000 was recovered from a sangoma whom the robbers are alleged to have approached for protection.
Constable Zacharia Makgaolane Magopa’s arrest comes after the cash heist that happened in the early hours of the morning, on February 1. Makgopa works as a police officer at Siyabuswa Police Station.
According to Mpumalanga Hawks spokesperson Captain Dineo Sekgotodi, three security guards were transporting an undisclosed amount of money to several ATMs around Moutse West, when they were attacked by unknown suspects driving in an Audi Q3 and a Mercedes-Benz.
“Several shots were fired at the armed vehicle, causing it to come to standstill.
“The security guards were disarmed and explosives were used to gain access to the money bags. The suspects fled scene with an undisclosed amount of cash, in several vehicles.
“Three vehicles, which include a Mercedes-Benz, an Audi Q3 and an Audi A4, were later found abandoned in different locations near Vaalbank.”
Sekgotodi said it was later established, through investigations, that the Mercedes Benz had been reported stolen in Jeppe, Johannesburg.
The A4 had been stolen in Yeoville, Johannesburg in December 2020 while the Q3 was reported as stolen in Sebenza, Edenvale in October 2020.
A charcoal Kia Rio, that was also found abandoned after the incident, had been reported stolen in Secunda, Mpumalanga in July 2020.
“Further investigation by the Hawks led team to recover R30 000 from a sangoma, which was allegedly used as payment to perform some rituals for the suspects’ protection to evade arrest,” Sekgotodi said.
Magopa, 38, was arrested following a crime intelligence driven operation conducted by the Hawks in Mpumalanga, the CIT tracking team attached to the Hawks head office, as well as Kwamhlanga’s Crime Intelligence.
The others two officers, attached to Vaalbank Police Station, who were taken in for questioning, were later released when the Hawks could not find any evidence implicating them in the crime.
The sangoma that was found with the money was also not arrested.
Magopa's matter was postponed to February 11 for a formal bail application.