Fee bearing image – Cape Town – 140317 – A suspect in an attempted armed robbery of an accessory store in Berg Street, was apprehended by CCID security, City Bowl Armed Response and Security SA. The authorities had to protect the suspect from the public that was trying to take the law into their own hands. A 9mm pistol was found in a laptop bag he threw away. Photographer: Armand Hough

Cape Town -

A man who tried to rob a clothing store in central Cape Town was assaulted by a small crowd while his accomplices managed to escape on Monday.

Central City Improvement District (CCID) security guards and the police chased the 38-year-old suspect after staff of the Gamby Service clothing store in Waldorf Arcade shouted for help.

He was attacked by a group of people before security officers in Church Street arrested him.

Onlookers said the man and three accomplices arrived in a car.

“They had guns. I think the shop owner was not there at the time because when he came to the shop the guys were trying to get away. One managed to escape with two others who were in the car, while one tried to run away, but was caught. We gave chase and the other people joined in,” witness Onesmus James said.

He said the suspect’s accomplices fled leaving him behind.

“I wish he was assaulted even more because they could have killed someone when doing this, but the security and police arrested him in time,” James said.

Another witness, Mike Banda, said: “I was shocked because they had guns. I don’t know what went wrong because the other guy managed to escape in a car and left this guy who got caught. I am just glad that no one got hurt including myself.”

The suspect was handcuffed and taken back to the store where curious onlookers demanded he be released.

They shouted that they wanted to “take care” of him. As he was taken away by police the man repeatedly said he did not do anything.

Police spokesman FC Van Wyk said: “Four suspects entered a clothing shop situated at Waldorf Arcade…The shop owner and his assistant were threatened with a firearm by the suspects who… took an undisclosed amount of cash.”

Video footage of the assault can viewed on the Cape Times Facebook page.

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Cape Times