Robbers in Santa Claus suits steal K50,000 cash

National, Normal

The National – Wednesday, December 1, 2010

GUNMEN dressed up as Santa Claus, walked away with more than K50,000 in cash last Friday in Mt Hagen after holding up employees of local business arm, Wamp Nga Holdings.
The suspected group of robbers pulled their Christmas stunt by pretending to be wishing early season’s greetings to curious onlookers who had flocked into town on the busy day.
They then walked into Wamp Nga Haus, where the company’s main office is located, and pretended to convey their “Christmas greetings” before holding up the stunned employees.
Western Highland’s police said three of the suspects, who were armed with two homemade pistols, had threatened the employees before escaping with the money.
WHP police commander Supt Kaiglo Ambane said the criminals then walked out of the building, held up another employee and escaped using his car to the nearby Trukai Industries depot, where the pickup vehicle was waiting.
He said some of the suspected group of robbers then went on a drinking spree in the getaway vehicle, a red Toyota double-cab Fifth Element Hilux.
However, the vehicle was spotted at Banz town by Mt Hagen-based police mobile squad six (MS 06) who were in the area providing security for Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane, who was in the province.
Ambane said members of MS 06 closed in on the vehicle and caught five of the suspects, along with two women who were accompanying the suspected robbers.
He said the seven are now detained at the Mt Hagen police cells.
He said police were actively reducing crime in the province and their quick response and networking had effectively resulted in this.