Cape Town - A brazen jewellery heist in N1 City has sparked fears among shopkeepers that a gang of mall robbers will hit even more shopping centres in Cape Town before the holiday season ends.
On Sunday morning, Papillon – a jewellery store at the Goodwood mall – was filled with shattered glass and left short of several silver necklaces, earrings and rings after thieves broke into the shop.
According to police spokesman Lieutenant-General André Traut, a gang of six men walked into N1 City at around 7am. They held a security guard at gunpoint before smashing the glass front of the jewellery shop.
The glass door of a nearby Cell C shop was also shattered by the alleged thieves.
“They took jewellery and cellphones before fleeing the scene. At this time the value and amount of what was taken is unknown,” said Traut.
An employee at Papillon said almost all the display cabinets inside had been smashed open.
“They only got the silver, because we pack away the gold jewellery into our store room at night. We know what they took, but I can’t tell you how much it is worth,” said the employee, who did not want to be named.
By Sunday night, police had not yet identified the suspects, but a Canal Walk shop owner believes he knows who the robbers are.
On Friday morning, a gang of four robbers walked through Entrance One and kicked through the glass panels of his jewellery shop – Bella and Me – inside the Canal Walk mall.
“They climbed through the gap, and headed straight to a set of watches I had on display,” said shop owner Diamandis Theodoropoulous. “They spent just 17 seconds inside.”
Theodoropoulous said CCTV footage showed the movements of the brazen gang, as they all bundled out of the shop again – dropping expensive watches as they fled.
“It looked professional, but in reality it was an amateur job,” said the shop owner.
“One of them cut themselves and left blood all over the shop. There was also skin with a bit of the, um, meat still attached.”
They also left behind the tools they had used to smash open the shop front and display cases.
“Now the police have their fingerprints and DNA, and I have everything covered by insurance,” said Theodoropoulous.
The stolen watches were worth about R250 000.
He said Sunday’s robbery in N1 City was almost identical to Friday’s.
“It’s definitely the same modus operandi. I suspect it’s the same guys.”
When asked whether the robberies were linked, Traut refused to speculate but said police would investigate the possibility.