Cape Town - Family and friends who visited patients at a Durbanville hospital were left shocked after a gun-wielding man gained access to the wards.
The suspect held up the unsuspecting people with what later turned out to be a BB gun.
An eyewitness, a mother, recounted on Facebook that she was with her children at the time of the robbery.
“I was there with my kids in a room. The man was definitely on something, I saw it in his face. He walked 5m away, past me, but luckily did not see me.
“One of my children and another mom with her child locked them inside our bathroom next to our room.
“I ran and grabbed my other child out of bed and we went to hide in another back room, listening to this crazy man making a noise while he walked down the passage pointing his gun at each window. Then he turned around and came back past us and climbed out through the same bathroom window he came in.
“Parents were hiding under their hospital beds with their kids, terrified. Just thankful he did not shoot.”
Gerrit de Villiers, the chief clinical officer of Mediclinic Southern Africa, said: “Mediclinic can confirm that an unfortunate incident occurred on the evening of August 31 at Mediclinic Durbanville, where an individual gained access to the hospital and stole valuables of visitors and family members of patients.
“The individual was armed, but this was later identified as a BB gun by a witness.
“All the relevant authorities were immediately called to the facility and Mediclinic is assisting them in their investigation. Unfortunately, the perpetrator managed to escape. Mediclinic is also taking additional measures to ensure the safety and security of everyone at our facility.
“We can confirm that no individuals were physically harmed during the incident and that we will provide the necessary support and counselling to those impacted by the event.”
The Durbanville Community Policing Forum said that at about 7pm, a complainant was busy on her phone at Mediclinic Durbanville Hospital.
“A male suspect climbed through the window and pointed at the complainant with a firearm. He then instructed the complainant to hand over her phone, but grabbed the phone out of her hand.
“The suspect also went to other wards in the hospital, and stole six more cellphones from patients.
“At this stage, the suspect has not yet been identified. A business robbery case will be investigated by the Durbanville Police.”
Police spokesperson Joseph Swartbooi said the suspect was apprehended on Saturday.
“The complainant in the matter, a 38-year-old female, was at a local medical facility, busy on her mobile phone, when an armed man approached her and robbed her of her mobile device.
“The suspect fled and in the process, continued robbing other visitors in the facility. The motive for this attack was robbery. We can confirm that an adult male was arrested on Saturday and will appear in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court. Durbanville police are investigating a case of armed robbery.”