Five in K1.4m heist charged as city cops gear up for festive season

National, Normal

The National, Monday 21st November 2011

FIVE suspects have been charged in connection with a K1.4 million heist from a major retail shop in September and the theft of firearms.
And police especially in the National Capital District have stepped up patrols and surveillance as the festive period approaches.
NCD metropolitan commander Supt Joseph Tondop said detectives had arrested five so far, including a former soldier and a private security guard.
They are looking for the others who included a female. Their identities are known to police.
“We have so far picked five suspects and also know the identities of the other suspects including a female from Central,” he said.
He said they were also looking for a woman who drove one of the getaway vehicles.
Tondop  believes that the former member of the PNG defence force was the master-mind of the whole operation. The security guard is believed to have leaked inside information on the movement of cash by the company to the bank.
The getaway driver took the robbers from the scene and drove to Tubusereia village along the coast where the loot was shared. Police believe the driver  then headed back to the city by dinghy through Taurama beach.
The money, all in cash, was reportedly the weekend’s takings for the City Pharmacy Ltd’s chain of stores.
Tondop said the CPL’s weekend takings were kept by a security company in its safe awaiting its transfer to the bank when it opens on Monday.
Tondop said the company vehicle taking the money to the bank was held up by the suspects at Hohola.
After a week of investigation, the prime suspect (former soldier) was arrested and K31,000 recovered.
Two of the eight firearms were recovered plus four of the vehicles used during the robbery.
Tondop has warned criminal elements planning such activities during the festive period to think twice before undertaking such illegal activities.