It took almost two years, but the Hawks believe they now have those behind a R500 000 Kuils River bank heist, including the crime’s alleged mastermind, bank manager Carmen Kolbe.
Three armed men robbed the Standard Bank near the Kuils River police station on Van Riebeek Road on November 21 2014.
The robbers had forced their way in with staff arriving for work that morning, said Hawks spokesman Captain Lloyd Ramovha on Friday September 16.
The Daily Voice reported that Ms Kolbe, 39, of Blackheath, who is currently the team leader at Standard Bank in Zevenwacht Mall, was arrested on Friday morning September 16, along with her ex-husband Kensley Kolbe, 39, and their co-accused Ebrahim Isaacs, 45, and Samoska Hattes, 48, both from Bridgetown, and Leroy Ackerman, 35, of Tafelsig.
Two other suspects have since turned State witnesses and cannot be identified.
The arrests by the Hawks and the SAPS Flying Squad followed multi-faceted investigations and raids on several addresses in Athlone, Captain Ramovha told the Northern News.
“These arrests come in the wake of sleepless nights put in by the members in ensuring that those responsible for the said crime, get to face the consequences of their actions,” said Captain Ramovha.
“We hope this serves as a warning to those who have, or plan to commit crime, that we will never be outwitted by criminals,” Captain Ramovha said, adding that all five accused were facing charges of armed robbery with aggravating circumstances
The accused appeared in the Blue Down’s Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
The Kolbes, who divorced 10 years but are still romantically linked and live together, each received R10 000 bail and are expected to report to Mfuleni police station twice a week. They have indicated they will enter a not guilty plea, the Daily Voice reported.
Their co-accused Mr Isaacs, a spraypainter, and Mr Hattes and Mr Ackerman each had their bail set at R8 000, but all three said they only had R3 000.
Senior State prosecutor Christiaan de Jongh told the court the State had a watertight case against the suspects and believed Ms Kolbe had masterminded the heist.
The prosecutor also told the court that Mr Isaacs, Mr Hattes and Mr Ackerman had given confessions. Equipment stolen during the robbery and confiscated by the police had also indicated that it was an inside job.
“It is clear that she was the mastermind who gave the robbers information. Accused three, four and five have made confessions which implicate the other accused persons.
“The State has a strong case against the accused and they could face 15 years or more imprisonment,” Mr De Jongh was quoted as saying in the Daily Voice.
Standard Bank spokesman Ross Linstrom did not answer questions Northern News sent him. He said he could only confirm the incident as it was still under police investigation.