Durban - Robbers pounced on another mall in Durban on Thursday morning. This comes in the wake of a spate mall robberies across the city in recent weeks.
In the latest incident, Foschini in Galleria Mall was robbed on Thursday morning. Another Foschini store was also robbed two days ago at Pine Crest Shopping Centre in Pinetown.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele, said a task team made up of members of various police units was established to tackle the rise in shopping mall crimes.
“There is a Provincial Task Team formed to curb these cases. We are also requesting the management at the malls to make sure that they beef up security at their business premises. Constant patrols are being made by the SAPS members to curb any criminal activities at the malls.”
Business Against Crime (BAC) KwaZulu-Natal branch manager Naeem Rahiman told the Independent on Saturday, that he was part of the task team.
“We assist business in any way we can. We are co-operating fully with the task team but we cannot say anything more on so as to not affect the work of the officers.”
Blue Security operations manager Brian Jackson said they have recorded at least five incidents of business burglaries at shopping malls as well as 10 unconfirmed reports of similar crimes that have been reported over the past few weeks.
“Most of the incidents reported to us occurred at night or in the early morning several hours before stores would be expected to open for business. Armed gangs smashed their way through the glass doors of stores using hammers in some cases before fleeing with goods ranging from alcohol, clothing, jewellery and electronic devices,” Jackson said.
“It is unclear at this stage whether the incidents are linked to a single gang as police investigations are underway.”
Gateway, Pearls Mall, Watercrest Mall, Kloof Village Mall, Pine Crest Shopping Centre, The Pavilion, Westwood Mall, Musgrave Centre, The Atrium, Bluff Towers, Southway Mall, Galleria Mall and Scottburgh Mall - these are shopping malls or centres with confirmed or unconfirmed reports of incidents.
Shop owners and staff have been urged to be vigilant whether they are inside or outside stores because of the recent shopping mall incidents that have taken place recently. Any suspicious behaviour should be reported to the police or security companies.
“Gangs have also walked into stores posing as customers before holding up and robbing staff so it’s important to be security conscious throughout the day and ready to press your panic button in an emergency,” Jackson said.