Cape Town - Kalk Bay restaurant manager George Mandalios thought he would be killed by the gang of armed men who held him and staff at gunpoint before fleeing with about R200000 on Monday.
The 73-year-old Mandalios told the Cape Times how he feared for his life when the suspects stormed the business and tied him up before making off with cash and personal belongings.
A traffic officer close to the scene was shot and wounded.
The suspects were caught moments later after a high-speed car chase.
Mandalios - who also known as “Mr Kalky” - said the suspects entered through the back door.
“It was as if they’d been watching us and waiting for the perfect opportunity. At about 8.15am we all came in the store to start the day and one of the employees had to use the back door to go and clean the drain. That’s when four armed men came in and ordered everyone to lie down on the floor.
“For a second I thought they were going to kill me because I was the only person they tied up. Fortunately they didn’t harm me or staff members. When they got what they wanted and ran away, staff members untied me.
“A friend of mine who’s a traffic official noticed something was wrong and took a picture of the suspicious Hyundai Getz before he was shot in the arm. The robbers forgot to take off the CCTV footage during their act and hopefully it’ll assist the police in their investigations,” he said.
Mandalios said on Monday’s robbery was the fourth attack on the 25-year-old eatery this year.
On August 18, robbers made off with R35000 and took off the CCTV camera.
Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said one suspect was still at large while three others, aged between 30 and 35, were arrested and face charges of attempted murder, business robbery and possession of a hijacked vehicle.
“Law enforcement and SAPS members attached to Muizenberg responded and pursued the vehicle. They arrested three suspects and recovered a firearm, and it was established that the vehicle was reported as hijacked in Manenberg,”said Rwexana.
The officer is receiving treatment at the hospital.
Safety and security mayco member JP Smith said: “The quick thinking of the City’s enforcement staff involved in this incident was key in tracking down the suspects, who are now behind bars and likely to face a range of charges.
“I commend the staff for their actions, and I’d also like to wish the officer who was wounded a speedy recovery. The City will provide the necessary support services to him, including counselling.”
Meanwhile, an off-duty police officer shot and killed an alleged hijacker in Sheffield Road, Philippi East, on Sunday night.
Police spokesperson Siyabulela Malo said the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) was investigating.
Ipid spokesperson Sontaga Seisa said: “We are investigating a death as a result of police action. An off-duty police officer discharged his firearm and fatally wounded an adult man during an alleged hijacking. Further details on this matter will be provided.”