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 13 July 2016

A cash-in-transit robber likes expensive clothes‚ does not mingle with the poor‚ buys a fancy house or a smallholding with his ill-gotten wealth and drives a fancy car.

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His weapon of choice for the robbery is an AK47‚ an R4 or an R5‚ but he prefers the AK47 because it is reliable and instils fear when shots are fired. A cash-in-transit criminal gets in on the gig because of financial gain‚ greed‚ the availability of huge amounts of cash.

These are some of the findings made by Dr Hennie Lochner‚ who interviewed 21 people who are serving time behind bars for cash-in-transit robberies. Most of the robbers he interviewed for his doctoral studies had passed grade 12 and had an occupation before they started their jail sentences. Although only two regarded themselves as professional criminals‚ others were police officials‚ cash-in-transit employees‚ transport business owners‚ disco dancers‚ entrepreneurs and handymen. What distinguished the cash-in-transit robbers from other robbers was the way in which they planned the robbery‚ Lochner said. Cash-in-transit robbers' advice to cops: ‘Remove corrupt crime intelligence officers’

“Nothing is overlooked and each and every action and plans are investigated in detail. Because of their thorough and meticulous planning‚ cash-in-transit robbers are professional criminals‚” Lochner said. Lochner said the selection of the target was not because a company was a soft target‚ but because of the availability of information and the amount of cash that can be robbed. Lochner said the robbers will gather information by tracing and trailing cash-in-transit vehicles while they are operational.

Employees who previously supplied information to the robbers will be approached for information and employees where money is delivered or picked up are also approached for information. Lochner said the leader of the pack was not democratically chosen‚ but was regarded by himself and the group he leads as the natural leader. “The decisions made by the leader are respected and complied with‚ but he is not seen as the boss.” Lochner said a leader was a person who can maintain discipline‚ can make all the arrangements‚ has executed the most newsworthy cash-in-transit robberies and is an exceptional criminal. Members of the group are selected on the basis of their driving skills‚ trustworthiness and the ability to handle firearms. Lochner said research highlighted there is no specific preferred method to execute the robberies‚ but the method depended on the available information and when the risk to fail was the smallest. On the day of the robbery‚ the scene is investigated thoroughly for suspicious people‚ vehicles or activities. He said the safe houses where money will be kept after the robbery is not randomly selected and all must agree on its suitability.

Lochner said township houses and houses belonging to family and friends were not considered in choosing a safe house. “So-called wealthy residential areas in Gauteng such as Garsfontein‚ Sandton Bryanston‚ Fourways‚ Waterkloof and Equestria were mentioned and also houses and apartments in security estates.” The incidents of cash in transit had been on a decrease‚ from a high of over 359 incidents in 2009/2010 to 119 cases in 2014/2015. However‚ Joint CEO of Cash Connect Management Solutions Richard Phillips said the decrease in robberies of cash in transit has seen a rise in business robberies where cash is targeted. He said the robberies had increased from 16‚377 robberies in 2012/2013 to 19‚170 robberies in 2014/2015. “That is 52 robberies per day. The robbers know what is in the store. Ninety percent of these robberies are in pursuit of the cash. They execute that robbery in less than 3 minutes‚” Phillips said.

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