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Pretoria - Police have released CCTV images to the public of a jewellery shop robbery at the Wonderpark shopping centre, north of Pretoria, in July last year.
A metro police officer was shot and killed at the entrance of the mall as the gang fled.
The SAPS has released images of the gang in the hope that witnesses will come forward with information as well as to warn the community of these alleged perpetrators. Police said the gang had been linked to other business robberies in and around the area since the heist.
The robbery took place at the NWJ jewellery shop at about 11am on July 19.
Five to seven armed men stormed into the centre and went straight to the jewellery shop.They pointed guns at the staff and then started grabbing jewellery and money before rushing out.
While fleeing the armed robbers spotted a traffic officer near the entrance and shot him in the chest at point blank range with a pistol.
The officer, identified as Sergeant Piet von Bekkum, died in the Akasia clinic later that day despite staff’s best efforts to save him.
The gang of armed robbers escaped with money and jewellery to the value of R500 000 and have not been caught since.
They fled in two Nissan Hardbody vehicles.
Witnesses can phone Warrant Officer van der Bergh at 012 353 5649 with any information using Pretoria North as the reference.
* Meanwhile, police say they are on the lookout for two robbers who held up staff at the Mall@Reds NWJ jewellery shop on Wednesday.
However, other reports indicated that three men were allegedly involved in the robbery.
More contradictory reports emerged after police said it was an armed robbery and the suspects got away with jewellery.
However, when the Pretoria News contacted the shop on Wednesday, the manager said it was an attempted robbery, thus implying no jewellery was taken.
But centre management spokeswoman Natasha van der Merwe said the suspects fled with a small amount of jewellery.
“One of the three men entered the store with a firearm, but the tenant managed to push the smoke system button which allows smoke to fill the room, making it difficult to see. The suspect then fled along with the other suspects, with the little jewellery he could take,” she said.
Van der Merwe said she could not say exactly how much was stolen, and the shop had told her it was “little to nothing”.
The shop manager would not comment further and referred all queries to the centre management.
Police spokeswoman Captain Agnes Huma said the robbery happened soon after the shop opened.
She said two armed men entered the shop, confronted staff with firearms and demanded jewellery, after which they fled.
She said no shots were fired despite claims of two shots going off.
Van der Merwe said no injuries were recorded and also stated that no shots were fired.
Cecil Swart, chief executive of Orange Fox Security, said his team was sent to the scene at about 10.15am on Wednesday.
“We received information that the suspects might still be in the building and did a comb of the mall but didn’t find them. We also checked the CCTV footage and saw three suspects fled in a white single-cab Isuzu bakkie. Police were informed,” he said.
A source in the police told the Pretoria News that the area was becoming a hot spot. A man was robbed of an undisclosed amount of money after a bomb threat at the mall last month.
Earlier this year another man was robbed at the mall, on his way to deposit money at a bank inside.