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Movie-style bank robbery foiled
The sleepy village of Otjinene yesterday endured events that replayed those of the 2009 Bank of Ireland robbery – the orchestrated kidnapping and holding bank officials as hostages as well as, ultimately, robbery.
The suspects, who only enjoyed a brief kick of thinking they were rich, grabbed a Standard Bank Otjinene branch manager while he was on his routine jogging exercise after work.
After a few rounds of jogging at a local soccer stadium, three men grabbed him and, like Shane Travers of the Bank of Ireland, held him hostage until midnight.
And, as was also in the case with the Bank of Ireland, the suspects emerged from the nearby bush to make their well-planned demands for the bank’s money.
A highly-placed police source told Namibian Sun yesterday that after getting their man, the suspects allegedly headed straight to the bank in the company vehicle, only to realise that their captive did not have the crucial building keys.
Two different keys were needed to open the bank.
The suspects then assaulted the man and forced him to reveal where the other set was.
Succumbing to his assailants’ pressure, the bank manager told them that the other set was with the bank’s Customer Care Consultant, to whose place they then headed right away.
The consultant was found at home in the company of her boyfriend and the love-birds were also kidnapped and forced to come along to the bank.
A security guard at the bank’s premises was assaulted and also tied up along with the other three victims, after which the suspects managed to deactivate the alarm and raided the bank coffers.
Namibian Sun was told that after the suspects collected piles of cash, they allegedly rounded up all four victims, bundled them in the vehicle and sped off.
“As if fate was not on their side, the driver of the vehicle then lost control and rammed into a tree along the Gobabis-Otjinene road,” the source said.
“They all then jumped out of the vehicle and took flight on foot into the nearby bushes.”
The security guard sustained serious injuries, which prompted the manager and the consultant’s boyfriend to run off and seek help at a nearby farm at around 03:00 am.
Luck further deserted the robbers when two of them were arrested yesterday morning, but the third suspect was still on the lose at the time of going to press last night.
The search for him continued in the veldt of Omaheke yesterday.
Standard Bank’s Head of Marketing and Communication Thaddius Maswahu confirmed the incident yesterday but could not divulge how much was stolen from the safe or how much has since been recovered.
Maswahu also added that the branch had to close its doors yesterday due to the incident, saying it will hopefully open again Friday.
“I cannot really divulge any information as I am also waiting for the official and confirmed report from both the police and bank officials who are at Otjinene to assess and verify what has happened.”
Attempts to get hold of the Omaheke Police Regional Commander, Josephat Abel, who was still at the scene late yesterday, proved futile as his mobile phone was switched off.