‘Well-dressed job seekers’ rob restaurant

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Durban - Armed robbers who held up staff at La Lucia restaurant Mamma Luciana’s on Monday had posed as well-dressed job seekers.

Glenore Centre owner, Paul Jason, described the robbery that took place at about 8am as “a quiet affair”, with most people in the centre oblivious to the incident.

This was the second armed robbery at the restaurant in two years.

“Two guys walked into the shop posing as job seekers and one of them almost convinced the manager to take them to the office to copy a CV and then they took out a 9mm and held them up,” Jason said.

“They were articulate and well dressed.”

SAPS spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said a 36-year old restaurant manager was approached by the men who claimed to be looking for a job.

“While she was busy with them, one produced a firearm and threatened to shoot her, demanding cash. The suspects took an undisclosed amount of cash before they fled the scene on foot.”

Jason said Blue Security and Marshall Security reaction officers as well as the Durban Flying Squad had responded swiftly and chased and arrested one of the robbers about 1km from the centre.

Zwane said police had spotted the suspect running away from the scene carrying a gun.

“They approached him and he was apprehended and charged with business robbery. His firearm, believed to have been used during the robbery, was recovered.

“The members also recovered an undisclosed amount of cash that was taken during the robbery,” Zwane said.

Zwane said a 39-year-old man was expected to appear soon in the Durban Magistrate’s Court.

SAPS provincial commissioner, Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, commended the Durban Flying Squad members for their swift response.

“Our members will work tirelessly around the clock to trace the second suspect who is still at large,” Ngobeni said.

Restaurant owner, Marco Conte, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday night.

Tyron Powell of Marshall Security said the company had not had other incidents of armed robberies at restaurants reported in recent months.

Martin Kriel, managing director of ADT Security’s East Coast Region, also said records showed there had been no other armed robberies at restaurants across Durban over the past four months.

“It is important that restaurant owners and employees always remain vigilant and keep an eye out for suspicious individuals, vehicles or activities near the premises or in the neighbourhood.

“If you notice anything out of the ordinary, immediately contact the South African Police Service or your security provider,” Kriel said.

“In the morning and evenings, have at least two members of staff open and close up for the day.

“Be aware of who is on the premises and where they are – try to greet everyone who enters the business, look them in the eye and ask if they need help as direct attention can discourage a potential robber,” Kriel said.

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