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Cape Town - Five armed men, who robbed Trigg Jewellers in Cavendish Square after a fire drill at the centre, made off with at least 50 watches, each valued at between R20 000 and R150 000, the store has confirmed.
Paul du Toit, who was in Woolworths at the time of the incident on Sunday morning, said they “hit the floor” as shots rang out.
“We heard the shots and we all hit the ground while Woolies locked us in. I was in the shoe area, a bit too close for me. Staff and security were very efficient,” Du Toit said on Facebook.
Natasha Greeff, Trigg Jewellers’ store manager, praised mall security and said she was confident the robbers would get caught.
“They ran into the store 15 minutes after we had a planned evacuation, they held guns to two of my staff members and two of them took out hammers and smashed two cabinets with Omega and Breitling watches.”
“The security was unbelievable and they will be caught. It is just a matter of time. The robbery happened within two minutes, we lost out on trade and we were doing so well.”
Greeff said every time the store falls victim to a robbery the mall beefs up security.
Centre manager Brenda Bibby said a fire drill that took place before the robbery, was carried out to comply with health and safety standards.
“The final drill was conducted on (Sunday morning) at 10am, during which, the entire centre was evacuated in nine minutes, and fully operational within 18 minutes.”
Bibby said the stores were trading as usual and that the matter was now with the police.
“We wish to thank our tenants, shoppers and the public for their support and co-operation. We also appreciate greatly the effective action carried out by the SAPS and Cavendish Square security personnel.”
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut said no arrests had been made and no one had been injured.
Shoppers took to Facebook and Twitter to recount the events with @earlcraig tweeting: “Some guys robbed Cavendish while I was there, a few metres from me. They started shooting guns as they ran out, it scared me.”
@Thaakirah tweeted: “Shots fired and jewellery store broken into in Cavendish mall #Crazyday.” Wayne Schnelle added on Facebook: “I would just like to confirm that Trigg jewellers has been robbed place looks like chaos inside glass broken and looks like one or 2 shots were fired.”