Andre Stander (1946 — 13 February 1984) was a police captain at the CID branch of Kempton Park Police Station, South Africa, who began robbing banks in the 1970s and later became known in popular media as the head of the “Stander Gang” in the early 1980s. His father, Frans Stander, was a general in the South African Department of Correctional Services.
Andre became well known for the audacious manner with which he carried out his crimes: He sometimes robbed banks on his lunch break, often returning to the crime scene as an investigating office.
After robbing nearly 30 banks, Andre Stander was arrested and sentenced to 75 years in prison on 6 May 1980.[1] However, since many of the charges in the sentence ran concurrently, he faced an actual sentence of 17 years.[2] Stander met two inmates named Allan Heyl and Lee McCall.[1] On 11 August 1983, Stander and McCall, along with five other inmates, were taken off of Zonderwater Maximum Security Prison’s premises for a physiotherapy appointment.
Once the prisoners were left alone with the physiotherapist, Stander and McCall overpowered her and escaped. The other prisoners refused to participate and stayed behind.[3] Stander and McCall returned to Zonderwater on 31 October 1983, in order to spring Allen Heyl from the facility where he was taking a trade test. From that day until the end of January 1984, the three began robbing banks together, under the nom de guerre of The Stander Gang (a term coined by the news media).
McCall was killed on 30 January 1984 in a Police raid on the gang’s hide-out in Houghton. Heyl fled to Greece, then England, then Spain and eventually back to England, where he was caught, tried and sentenced for robbery and a related firearms charge to nine years. After serving his time in the UK, he was extradited back to South Africa where he was sentenced to a further 33 years in prison. Heyl was released on parole on 18 May 2005. While police were closing in on McCall in South Africa, Stander had been in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, trying to arrange for the sale of the gang’s recently-purchased sailing yacht, the Lilly Rose, that they planned to use for their final getaway once they had acquired enough money.