Durban -

A burglar who broke into a Florida Road restaurant had looted the bar before jumping from the balcony to escape from a security guard, the shocked owner said.

The injured man hid in the cellar in the building for half a day before police arrived and found him sitting outside the building next door.

“He was in a lot of pain and his ankles were swollen,” said Shaun Naidoo, owner of Velvet Lounge and Restaurant.

He said the man, a former employee, was soaked in blood and was sitting against a wall. He had wounds on his face.

Naidoo said it seemed his property had been broken into just after staff had left for the day on Saturday.

He said he received a tip-off from someone that a man had climbed through a window. He alerted his security company and met them on site at 5.20am, on Sunday.

The burglar had known the alarm code and had disarmed the alarm system, he said, adding that the power to the building had also been switched off.

Naidoo said he and the security guards had found a black bag in the foyer with bottles of alcohol inside.

It appeared the burglar had looted the lower level and upper level bars, he said, and stolen cash from an office.

“When I arrived I saw the window open and heard footsteps upstairs. A guard went up to search the offices and bar. He walked on to the balcony where he saw a man trying to hide. The guard shouted out asking him to stand up,” Naidoo said. “The man jumped over the balcony wall and landed on some rocks and fencing (near) the property next door.”

However, when the guard went to the side of the building he could not find the man, he said, adding that it appeared that the burglar had dragged himself into a cellar beneath the restaurant to hide.

Naidoo said they spotted bloodstains on the floor leading into the cellar.

“A police dog came out but it was dangerous for the dog to go into the cellar, in case of live wires. By then we thought he had fled through another exit,” he said.

“That evening at 7pm the police detectives arrived. They found the man sitting outside the building next door.”

Naidoo said an estimated R35 000 worth of liquor and cash was recovered.

Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said a 31-year-old man had been charged with housebreaking and theft.

Zwane said the suspect had been admitted to hospital and would appear in court as soon as he was fit to do so.

Daily News