Robbers blow up thousands

Although they used gel explosives, the thugs did not manage to blast the safe open.

According to Mr Rick de Gouveia of the Engen filling station between Blyvoor and Elandsridge, he was working alone in his office at about 20:28 when he suddenly heard a gunshot. He looked outside and saw the security guard running from nine men armed with shotguns.
‘I immediately ran outside and hid upstairs. A minute later, I heard more gunshots and an explosion. It sounded like a war zone,’ De Gouveia told the Herald on Monday.
It later turned out that the robbers had tried to break into De Gouveia’s office and blow up a safe on the premises. Although they damaged the safe with their explosives, they did not manage to get it open and take the money out.
The robbers fired several shots and a bullet ricochetted off the floor and grazed an employee’s leg.
When the suspects realised that they had botched their plans, they hijacked a white Nissan Almera belonging to the security guard and the red Toyota Corolla of a customer.
Luckily for the security guard but not so much for the robbers, the security guard’s Almera ran out of fuel before they reached Elandsridge. They abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot.
The Corolla was last seen speeding away from the scene.
According to De Gouveia, he later helped the police take samples of the explosives they used on the safe. ‘It was a green see-through gel that looked like silicone,’ he says. He also scraped out the remnants of the money that was in the safe during the explosion. Most of it had been completely blown apart and would certainly not have been of any use to any criminal.
De Gouveia, unfortunately, sustained chemical burns on his hands while trying to scrape out the explosives. Other than that, he is just happy to be alive.
‘We have had robberies here before but never anything like this where they have used explosives,’ he says.
The police’s trio task team is currently investigating a case of armed robbery following the incident but no one had been arrested by the time of the newspaper going to print. Anyone with relevant information is asked to contact Sgt Wynand Kruger at 061 435 2848.

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