SA airport heist probe centers on police officer, 3 other suspects

By AT editor - 15 March 2017 at 2:52 am
SA airport heist probe centers on police officer, 3 other suspects

The South African Police Service says four people, including a police officer, have been taken in for questioning following last week’s heist at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

Two of those people have been charged, while the others – including the officer – remain under investigation.

“We have resolved as law enforcement agencies to work hard in ensuring that the perpetrators of this crime are brought to book,” said Khomotso Phahlane, the SAPS acting police commissioner, speaking to local media during a Tuesday night press briefing.  “Within a week of investigations and interviewing of people of interest pertaining to this case we can confirm that four people have been taken in for questioning.”

The March 7 robbery was widely believed to be an inside job, after armed thieves arrived with special access ID, in vehicles with blue lights and law enforcement markings. They entered a secure gate and took the foreign currency from a South African Airways plane, escaping without injuries or any shots fired.

The entire episode took just 20 minutes. While airport officials say they were made aware of the situation, it was too late to respond quickly enough to prevent it – but the SAPS said that any reports that authorities were “tipped off” is an unconfirmed rumor.

The group made off with an as-yet undetermined amount of money, but some reports put the heist at more than R20 million (about USD $1.5 million). Phahlane said he still could not yet release a figure.

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