Gang of armed thieves posing as police steal £12m from Johannesburg airport

Robbers posing as police have stolen £12million of cash in an Ocean’s Eleven-style heist at a South African airport.

The money was taken when fake officers stopped security guards who were loading the money onto a flight bound for London on Tuesday night.

No shots were fired during the incident at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, and the thieves were said to have known exactly which boxes to target in a ‘slick’ operation.

A stock picture of OR Tambo International Airport where the heist took place Tuesday night

A stock picture of OR Tambo International Airport where the heist took place Tuesday night

The arrivals hall at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa

A police source at the airport said the heist happened at 7pm when the robbers, masquerading as police, drove into a restricted zone and headed straight to cash-laden containers unloaded from a cargo plane.

‘They told the security that they were carrying out an investigation and the security guards opened the boom gate for them,’ said the source.

The company that operates the airport, South Africa’s largest, confirmed in a statement that an armed robbery had taken place.

Hangwani Mulaudzi, spokesman for the elite police unit the Hawks, also confirmed the ‘robbery’ but refused to divulge details ‘pending investigations.’

Robbers targeted specific boxes of cash at OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa

A statement from the airport stated the suspects were still on the run, according to Times Live, and that the guards who opened the gates were from the Guard Force team.

They are responsible for high risk cargo such as precious metals, diamonds and large amounts of money.

An independent source told the South African newspaper the gang arrived in a van with flashing police lights.

The source, who estimated the stolen money at being worth $15million, said: ‘They went for specific boxes. It’s clear that they knew what they were searching for.’

It was described by a second source as a ‘slick’ operation with individuals assigned to look for and snatch particular containers.

The second informant told Times Live the gang clearly had attained detailed intelligence on how the airport was run and added: ‘They knew how to get into the airport and how to get out’ which exits to use.’

‘Within minutes they were gone clear of the airport.’

The loot was in a number of foreign currencies which was being stored at the cargo section of the airport reserved for high value and high risk goods.

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