Two vehicles used to commit a daring US$2-million armed robbery at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday night were bogus police cars, the police have said.The two cars, whose robbers have yet to be apprehended, were found abandoned in Mamelodi Township in east of the capital Pretoria on Wednesday, the police said on Friday.
“The vehicle found abandoned in Mamelodi proved to be one with fake police markings. When the perpetrators are arrested, we would not be surprised to learn that some of them are bogus police officers,” acting National Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane told the media.
According to the Airports Company of South Africa – which manages the airport – 1723 GMT on Tuesday, a vehicle (a pickup) with markings made to look like an official police vehicle pulled up at a restricted access gate, North Gate 1, at the airport.
The pickup was closely followed by a white Ford Focus. Both vehicles had their sirens and blue lights activated and were occupied by several armed men, some of whom were in police uniforms, the police chief said.
After being requested to validate their credentials, the men in the vehicles produced firearms, rounded up security staff at the security checkpoint and ordered them to lie on the floor.
The robbers proceeded to gain access to the airside of the airport where they removed the money from a sealed container bound for Europe. No shots were fired and no injuries were reported.
The two cars then exited through the same point of entry 22 minutes later.
Phahlane said an intensive and multi-disciplinary investigation process is underway and an investigative task team comprising Crime Intelligence, the Hawks and SAPS detectives is working around the clock on the case.