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Rash of thefts prompts unique security feature that shoots hardening foam into cash vans.
In a scene ripped from sci-fi movies, a South African armored car company is launching a new security feature that shoots rubberized foam into its cash vans should they come under attack.
G4S Cash Solutions plans to launch 40 of the vehicles by the end of this year, Independent Online reported.
“It’s a lot safer because you don’t have to have people risking their lives to save the system,” said G4S sales director Hannes Venter told IOL.
If thieves trigger the security feature, a driver feels threatened or staff watching closed-circuit cameras from headquarters see trouble, pressurized jets inject two chemicals into the vans that combine and harden rapidly.
The foam forms a barrier in the vans that is resistant to fire, chemicals, hammers and even bullets, IOL reported.
Penman Engineering in the UK is behind the revolutionary new security system.
South Africa has long battled armored car thieves, with seven dead in a wild shootout last November near Johannesburg at a coin depot.
South African Police Service shot and killed the seven and injured nine more when a SWAT team arrived at the depot and confronted the heavily armed crew.
The New Age reported that armored car robberies skyrocketed to 467 in 2006-07 from 192 just a few years earlier. Robberies have decreased to 83 last year thanks to renewed effortst to keep valuables safe.
That increase, however, had prompted a joint response from police, armored-car companies and South African banks, said Kalyani Pilly, CEO of the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric).
“With regard to Saturday’s joint operation, the SAPS and cash-in-transit companies need to be commended,” Pilly told The New Age after the November heist.