Cape Town - A suspected robber was beaten to death, allegedly by residents in Mitchells Plain, after he and accomplices snatched a woman’s handbag on Wednesday.

Spokesman Frederick van Wyk said police found the 28-year-old man’s body on the pavement on the corner of Merrydale Avenue and Spine Road in Rocklands at 5.30am.

He had been hit on the head.

“It is alleged that the deceased was robbing an unknown woman on her way to work when unknown community members came to her assistance and they then assaulted the (man), declared dead on the scene. A murder case docket was opened,” Van Wyk said.

No arrests have been made.

The incident took place near a busy road being used by buses, minibus taxes and close to Spine Road High. A resident said they had been told by witnesses that three men had robbed a woman who had been walking to a bus stop on Merrydale Avenue. The trio ran but one was caught and beaten to death.

“We came out when the police were here and there were people (shouting) outside. We were so scared to go outside we just stood up against the fence to see what was happening. The body was on thecorner and schoolchildren were using the road,” the resident said.

She said the road near her house had become notorious for criminals who targeted people going to work and schoolchildren. Her son and a friend were robbed while walking to the town centre this year while her daughter was held up with a knife by someone who demanded her cellphone.

About a year ago a boy was shot for his cellphone.

“We have children that are scared to go to school.”

Mitchells Plain Cluster CPF chairman Michael Jacobs said it was the third such incident in the area this year.

In April Quinton Pietersen, 16, was beaten to death in Tafelsig after being caught allegedly breaking into a house. Jacobs said that a few weeks later a man who had robbed people in Colorado Park was caught by Samora Machel residents and beaten to death in London Village.

“We cannot condone such actions in Mitchells Plain where people take the law into their own hands.”

Anyone with information can call Detective Sergeant Errol Bedford on 082 777 8076, Crime Stop confidentially on 08600 10111 or SMS Crime Line on 32211.

[email protected]

Cape Times