Gang’s Sunday morning jewellery heist

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IOL  Heist645.JPG THE STAR A gang of 10 robbers hit Browns Jewellers in the Cradlestone Mall on the West Rand. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Johannesburg - A gang of armed robbers brazenly stormed a Krugersdorp mall on Sunday morning, allegedly stealing more than R3 million in jewellery before escaping by smashing through a boom in one of their cars.

They pulled off the heist in broad daylight at about 9.30am on Sunday at the Cradlestone Mall in Krugersdorp, which officially opened seven months ago.

About 10 armed men targeted Browns Jewellers, which is about 20m from an entrance on the rooftop parking section.

Police spokesman Captain Tsekiso Mofokeng said that two attackers entered the jewellery store, pointed firearms at the salespeople and ordered them to the floor.

“As they were lying down, more suspects came in and then snatched the jewellery,” he said.

Two shots were fired as the men fled the store to their getaway vehicles, but there were no injuries, Mofokeng said.

“We’re appealing to the public to help us. If they have any information, they can just speak to their nearest police station or call 08600 10111,” Mofokeng said.

Mall manager Cara Grobler said the men smashed through the thick glass of display cases to get to the jewellery and one of the employees suffered cuts in the process.

“They left the mall as quickly as they entered and the entire incident was over in a matter of minutes,” Grobler said

She said that employees had been given counselling.

“We would like to assure Cradlestone Mall shoppers that their safety is of utmost importance to us,” she said.

According to a source, who asked not to be identified, the men used six cars and made off with “in excess” of R3m in jewellery and cash.

“One of them was a BMW X5 that was later used to ram the boom gate so they could drive back out,” he said.

On visiting the scene in the afternoon, The Star could not spot any damage to any of the mall’s boom gates.

Police cordoned off the entrance to the store as they investigated, and several men could be seen sweeping and vacuuming up broken pieces of glass from the display cases.

Mofokeng said he could not comment on the reports of the boom gate being rammed or the value of goods stolen, because he said this would be revealed during an investigation.

But he did confirm a BMW and a Mercedes-Benz were used as getaway vehicles.

An employee of a nearby shop said they heard glass being shattered and realised there was a crime in progress.

The source said the mall’s security cameras captured some of the men’s faces and hoped this would lead to swift arrests.

ER24 paramedics responded to the scene, but had to wait for police to finish their sweep of the building.

“ER24 paramedics assessed and calmed the shoppers, finding no one sustained any injuries,” said spokesman Russel Meiring.

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The Star

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