Robbers target Gauteng malls

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IOL  debonairsROBB SUPPLIED In June, a restaurant in Diepkloof was hit shortly after closing time. About R40 000 in cash was stolen from the cash office.

Johannesburg - The Worldwear Shopping Centre in Fairland was hit by eight armed robbers who stormed a clothing store around 10am on Thursday.

Police have not made any arrests regarding the recent spate of business robberies in Gauteng shopping malls.

It is believed the men threatened staff members at the Timberland store at gunpoint before removing clothing.

The thieves fled the scene in a white Toyota double-cab bakkie. No shots were fired.

On Tuesday, a Telkom store at the Eastgate Mall was robbed at gunpoint. The incident took place around 6pm.

The robbers demanded cellphones before fleeing.

On Thursday, a Soweto businesswoman told The Star that the spate of robberies hitting shopping malls in the province had made many of them fear for their lives.

The woman, who asked not to be identified for security reasons, owns four food outlets in several malls around Soweto.

Two of her shops were attacked by a robber who gained entry through the ceiling of the shop.

In both incidents, the robber landed up inside the cash office and used his cellphone to contact one or more accomplices waiting outside.

In the latest incident on Sunday, the woman’s food outlet in Maponya Mall was hit shortly after 10pm.

Police spokeswoman Constable Thuli Ngwenya said the robber fled with R30 900 in cash. She said the man appeared to know exactly where to get the money.

In June, the woman’s restaurant in Diepkloof was hit shortly after closing time. About R40 000 in cash was stolen from the cash office.

Diepkloof police spokeswoman Captain Phephi Matlou said they suspected the same robber was involved in these incidents because the same modus operandi was used to gain entry at both outlets.

Footage viewed by The Star of the Diepkloof robbery showed how the man gained entry to the shop.

The 35-minute footage shows the robber using his cellphone torch to search the office.

On several occasions he is seen making and receiving calls on his cellphone. It appears as if the calls direct him to where the money is.

The store owner said she suspected an inside job in both incidents.

“I can’t point fingers, but if robbers know exactly where to get the money, then clearly someone is directing them.”

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The Star


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