Two men suspected of running an ATM robbery syndicate in Windhoek were apprehended this past Sunday after a failed attempt to rob a tourist at the Nedbank ATM along Independence Avenue, Marshal Ranger Sheriff Sean Naude told The Villager.
When The Villager arrived at the scene the two men were resisting arrest, after which Sheriff Naude called for back-up with the Namibian Police.
Speaking to The Villager, Naude said the guards who were manning the premises were slow to react, and he had to leave his coffee by Slow Town Coffee Roaster across the street from the Nedbank ATM and pounced on the two before apprehending them.
“The security guards (were) too afraid because these guys get aggressive and if you touch them they cry assault,” Sheriff Naude said.
The scuffle drew quite a crowd as the suspects vehemently tussled with Naude and a witness who spoke to this publication on the scene said, “When I saw what they were doing, I tried to raise alarm, one of them said “I will f#@k you up!”
“These guys are notorious ATM robbers and they have a vehicle that waits for them and then they go up to people and offer to help them telling them thy need to put an international code to use their ATM. At this time, they grab the card and then clone it and draw as much (money) as they can,” said the sheriff.
He said they have had a case of one tourist losing N$70 000 recently.
“The sad thing is (that) the justice system is not hard on these guys and they (get) back in no time to do it all over again. I am a public figure who is tired of tourists and people getting robbed,” he said.
The Namibian Marshal Rangers helps the environment and tourism ministry as well as Nampol Tourists Police Unit (NTPU) by placing marshal scouts all over the central business district.
“We monitor ATMs and popular tourist attractions. We’ve dealt regularly with tourists who get robbed at ATMs and tourist sites, “he said.
Meanwhile, beginning of this year, the police had to launch a manhunt for a gang of thieves who broke into a Rehoboth Nedbank automated teller machine (ATM) and stole N$240 930.
Nampol spokesperson Edwin Kanguatjivi then said that the daring thieves cut through the roof of the bank to force entry before breaking down the ATM door cutting into the machine and stealing money.
Two months ago an Oshakati business person also lost N$4 million to a syndicate of thieves.
Another incident which happened three months ago also saw a First National Bank (FNB) ATM being cut open by a blow torch at the old power station in the southern industrial area of Windhoek before the thieves got away with N$500 000 in cash.
Sheriff Naude is the founder of Namibian Marshall Rangers, an organisation that not only fills some law enforcement gaps, but provides protection services to the general public and greater Namibian conservation efforts as well.
Over the years, Sean has gone by many names - lone wolf, rocker, protector - but the one name that stuck through the years is Namib Cowboy.