Municipal offices temporarily closed after robbery

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Photo:Pierce van Heerden

The Mangaung Municipal Regional Offices remain closed to staff and the public after a robbery took place in the early hours of Thursday in Rocklands, Bloemfontein.

Bloemfontein Courant was at the scene this morning and found police vehicles, a fire truck and emergency services at the scene after the incident. Police taped off the area and traffic officials directed cars in the heavily congested Moshoeshoe Road opposite the Home Affairs offices.

According to police spokesperson,n Thandi Mbambo, four suspects entered the Leslie Monnanyane Building through a broken window at about 01:00 on Thursday. The suspects who had their faces covered with balaclavas got away with an undisclosed amount of money.

“They pounced on the five female security guards while one male was patrolling inside the building. They tied their hands and locked them in the toilet before they grinded open the safe,” explained Mbambo.

The suspects were able to gain entry because of a previous burglary. “So investigations now detect that they gained entry through a back window which was apparently broken a few months ago in another burglary,” she continued.

Municipal staff remained outside after they arrived for an honest day’s work, Residents surrounded the area after there were rumours of a bombing. However, a bomb was not reported to have been a part of the robbery.

Mbambo said that the scene would only remain closed for a few hours. “The scene will be cleared in a few hours. It is just that our guys are still dusting and combing the area to check if they cannot find any clues or finger prints,” she stated.

According to municipal spokesperson, Qondile Khedama, new safety measures need to be put in place to prevent similar occurrences. The male security guard was able to alert police about the robbery, however the suspects managed to flee the crime scene.

“This is a call for us as the city to beef up our security because clearly the level of crime is rising and we have to from time to time have a relook at our security strategies,” said Khedama.

“Failure to do that would be putting the lives of employees and the public itself in danger, therefore we are having a strategy review,” he clarified.

According to Mbambo a case of armed robbery will be investigated. The suspects remain at large and no injuries were reported in the incident.

 Nomaqhawe Mtebele

nomaqhawe@mahareng.co.za