Vangate Mall in Athlone. Picture: COURTNEY AFRICA

Cape Town -

A security guard was critically wounded by one of seven robbers who stole hundreds of thousands of rand worth of goods from two cellphone stores at the Vangate Mall on Sunday morning.

Police spokesman Tembinkosi Kinana said the gang struck at 9.45am and robbed the Telkom Mobile and Nashua Mobile stores.

He said the value of the stock taken had not yet been determined.

A Telkom Mobile employee estimated that about R160 000 worth had been stolen.

Kinana said a case of attempted murder had been opened. “No arrests have been made,” he said.

EMS spokesman Robert Daniels said the security guard was taken to Vincent Pallotti Hospital.

“His condition is very serious. He was shot in the face and fractured his shoulder,” said Daniels.

Two Telkom Mobile employees, who did not want to be named as they feared for their safety, said they were assaulted by the two robbers who entered the store and whom they initially took to be customers. There were three employees in the store at the time.

Employees at Nashua Mobile declined to comment.

One of the employees, aged 21, said the gang spilt up into two groups. Two robbers entered Telkom Mobile, while the others targeted Nashua Mobile, directly opposite.

“They were wearing casual clothes with nothing covering their faces,” he said.

He said when one of the robbers entered the store, he asked him whether he needed any assistance.

“He said: ‘F*** you’… Then I saw the other one holding a gun under his jersey.”

The robbers instructed the employee to stand up behind his desk and to take them to the storeroom.

He did so, walking behind one of the robbers while the other pointed a gun at his back.

“I knew they had guns, so I just followed and did what they asked me to do,” he said.

The other employee said the store had panic buttons, but they weren’t able to get to them in time.

“We also did not want to anger the robbers. For all we know, they might have killed us if we tried to call for help,” he said.

The two said the robbers then hit them until they fell to the floor, where they remained while the robbers ransacked the shop.

The third employee, a woman, was unharmed and remained in the storeroom with the others.

“We stood up when they left, and I saw them running. Then I heard the shot,” the 21-year-old employee said.

The employee said the security guard grabbed one of the robbers and got him in a chokehold. He said the robber then raised his hand and shot the guard in the face.

The three employees ran out of the store to call for help and saw the robbers make their get-away in a car that had been parked in front of the main entrance.

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Cape Times