Cape Town - Five men in full police uniform with handguns entered a jewellery store in Green Point on Tuesday and told the man behind the counter they wanted something made for their lieutenant.
But when the jeweller, who gave his name only as Nick, asked them for identification, they grabbed him and other staff and locked them in the storeroom.
They then stole diamonds, other gems and jewellery worth thousands of rands.
Witnesses said the men looked like legitimate police officers carrying radios and firearms - which they did not use.
The robbery occurred at about 11.45am at Christopher Reid Fine Jewellery store in Ebenezer Road.
Nick said: “They wore no masks and kept telling us not to look at them.”
He noticed a white Nissan Tiida park in front of the store and five men emerge. “I approached the gate and opened it. Something felt strange, but I let them in.”
He added that while one sat down four others stood around.
“They told me they wanted to have something made for their lieutenant - I assumed that they meant a jewellery piece. I asked for their identification though.”
The men then grabbed him and pushed him into the storeroom at the back of the shop.
“One grabbed my hand and tore my shirt.”
Three other employees were also taken to the storeroom and cuffed with cable ties, while one of the robbers stood watch.
“Everything happened in five minutes.
“They cleaned out the jewellery cabinets and the safe.”
Nick said the men had not been aggressive, but he had been frightened. “It’s pretty surreal and unbelievable. Some of them must have been policemen or ex-policemen.”
The robbers stole an undisclosed amount of jewellery, which included diamonds and gemstones.
“They took our cellphones but we traced two of them via an app to the N2 highway, where the police recovered them.”
No one was injured.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut said police were investigating. No arrests had been made.