Cape Town -

Three robbers masqueraded as customers before they shot and wounded a shop owner and stole thousands of rand from a grocery store in Ottery.

The incident was the latest in a spate of business robberies reported in the southern suburbs over the past four months.

Business owners in Athlone and Ottery have now approached the police to give them tips on what to do when they fall victim to such a robbery.

On Sunday, shop owner Anis Rahman from Foodland Grocery and Butchery on the corner of De Wet and Ottery roads was shot in his left leg when three robbers took all the cash from the tills and demanded the keys to the safe.

Shop manager Madeem Abrahams said the three men walked into the shop just after 5pm and pretended to be customers. “Three men entered the shop and pretended to be shopping. We thought they were customers, but then they took out their guns and demanded the staff clear the cash from the tills,” she said.

Abrahams said the men then demanded the shop’s keys from the owner.

“When he gave it to them, one of the men shot him in the left leg above the knee. It all happened so quickly and they left the shop immediately afterwards. There was a lot of blood,” she said.

She said the men took the keys of a customer’s Toyota Venture and used it as a getaway vehicle.

Abrahams said about R20 000 was taken from the shop.

Rahman was taken to Constantiaberg Hospital and is in a stable condition.

Police spokesman Andrè Traut confirmed the robbery and said the police were still searching for the robbers.

On Monday Abdul Basier Dramat, chairman of the local chapter of the Cape Chamber of Commerce, said they have experienced an “increasing number of business robberies in the past few months”.

“It is alarming that robbers are moving from one area to another,” he said.

In March, a security guard was critically wounded by one of seven robbers who stole hundreds of thousands of rands worth of goods from two cellphone stores at Vangate Mall in Athlone.

Last month a partially deaf supermarket employee was shot and wounded when robbers pounced on Elite Cash & Carry in Athlone Industrial Area.

It happened a week after a nearby store - MA Wholesalers was robbed, and less than 10 days after Athlone businesswoman, 65-year-old Salma Shreef, was shot dead in her garage.

“It seems robbers are well armed, pull off robberies quickly and move from one area to the next,” said Dramat.

“The robberies started in Vangate and now they have moved through Athlone down to the south.”

He said business owners met provincial commissioner Arno Lamoer last month.

- Cape Times

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