A burglar was wounded by a policeman in a shootout early on Wednesday after a gang was spotted carrying goods out of a Glenwood café.
One of the burglars dropped a flat-screen TV when he saw a policeman running towards him on Helen Joseph (Davenport) Road and went back into Badgers Café to warn his accomplices.
An eyewitness said the men jumped into getaway vehicles as the policeman fired back at them, hitting one of the burglars.
The wounded man was initially left behind by the gang as they sped off, but after he pleaded with them, they slowed down to pick him up.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said charges of attempted murder and house breaking were being investigated by Umbilo SAPS.
He said a metro policeman, from the Davenport Centre satellite station responded to a complaint of housebreaking in Helen Joseph Road at about 6am.
“A group of suspects were loading stock on the vehicles. When approached by the police they opened fire. Shooting ensued between the police and the suspect,” said Zwane.
The eyewitness, a car guard who did not want to be identified, said a passer-by saw the burglary in progress and informed the police.
He said one of the suspects, who had come out of the café to one of two vehicles parked in front, saw the policeman coming towards them with a gun in his hand.
He said when the suspect saw the policeman he told one of the robbers who was following him to the car to call the others to get out.
“A lot of men came out of the café. The officer chased and fired six or seven shots at the robbers,” he said.
The car guard said one of the suspects was shot outside the café before he could get into the getaway vehicle.
“He begged, ‘Please brothers don’t leave me’, and one of the cars slowed down and picked him as he was chasing behind,” said the car guard.
Zwane said the two vehicles sped up Helen Joseph Road before heading in different directions. A Toyota RunX was later found abandoned near Bulwer Park.
“A computer, DVD, two flat-screen TVs and cash were taken. No arrests were made and investigations are continuing,” said Zwane.
The car guard said the suspects were in their early 20s.
Badgers Café’s manager, Tracy Robinson, said the burglary was the work of a syndicate that were “regular” visitors to their restaurants and had been targeting businesses in the area.
“What I get from people is that they are our customers and when they break in, they know where to go and what to get,” she said.
Robinson said it would cost about R100 000 to recover the goods and repair damages.
“We have lost our day trading because of this. We had to close and send staff home for a day off,” said Robinson. “But we are pleased that none of us and my staff were hurt.”
She said business owners had planned to jointly hire a private security company with members that would patrol the area at night.
Jomo Khanyile, the manager of nearby restaurant Keys on Davenport, also said they would need to beef up security in the area after his restaurant was broken into two weeks ago and a TV and music sound system taken.
Amsterdam Bar and Grill’s manager, Duncan Nairn, said: “The restaurant has already been robbed twice in the past four months and the police are virtually non-existent”.
He said the staff at the Helen Joseph pub had become wary after the robberies.
Yossis Café’s manager, Chantel Janson van Ransburg, said they had experienced minor crimes and had to change seven lights three times after they were stolen. - Daily News