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Seven in court for failed OR Tambo airport PPE heist

20 July 2020 - 20:14 By Naledi Shange
Seven men arrested for a failed robbery at OR Tambo airport in Gauteng will remain behind bars.
Seven men arrested for a failed robbery at OR Tambo airport in Gauteng will remain behind bars.
Image: File

The seven men who were arrested following a botched heist at the OR Tambo International Airport appeared in the Kempton Park magistrate’s court on Monday.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said their case was postponed to August 4 for a formal bail application.

The group allegedly tried to make off with scores of personal protective equipment as well as a crate full of cellphones on Saturday, before they were cornered. Not all of them made it out alive.

“The police, upon searching the suspects’ truck (after the shooting), recovered the stolen personal protective equipment (masks) as well as three crates containing cellphones,” said Col Brenda Muridili in a statement release shortly after the incident.

Two people were killed in the heist, while a third bystander was wounded during a shootout between law enforcement and the alleged robbers.

Muridili said the police had been alerted of a robbery in progress at the cargo section of the airport.

“At about 12.30pm, a group of suspects entered the cargo section at the OR Tambo Airport and held the staff at gunpoint at one of the warehouses. The manager of the warehouse noticed employees lying on the floor and immediately notified the police and airport security,” she said.

Police officers and airport security rushed to the scene. A shootout ensued between the robbers, police and airport security as the assailants tried to flee in their truck and bakkie.

“Subsequently, seven suspects were arrested, four of them with gunshot wounds, while two more suspects were shot dead. A civilian in the vicinity sustained a gunshot wound apparently by a stray bullet.”

Videos of the shooting went viral over the weekend. In some, gunfire could be heard.

Muridili urged members of the public to share information on planned crime.

“We continue to appeal to anyone that knows of crimes being planned to contact the Saps on the Crime Stop number 086 00 10111 or via the MySAPSApp. All information will be treated with strictest confidence.”