Cellphone handsets to the value of about R350 000 were stolen during an armed robbery at a Cell C store in Kimberley. Photo: Danie van der Lith

Kimberley - The staff and a customer at the Cell C store at the New Park Shopping Centre in Kimberley were held up at gunpoint by three men, who ransacked the safe after locking them inside it, on Tuesday morning at about 9.45am.

While the store management is still calculating the losses incurred, it is believed that cellphone handsets to the value of about R350 000 were stolen. These included cellphones that had been brought in for repairs.

Sniffer dogs were used to search for clues while onlookers were unable to believe that this type of crime had taken place in broad daylight.

Police spokesman Lieutenant Sergio Kock said the Kimberley police were investigating a business robbery after three unknown men entered the Cell C shop and allegedly threatened the employees with firearms.

“Five employees were locked up in the walk-in safe while the robbers helped themselves to cellphones and an undisclosed amount of money. It is alleged that a getaway vehicle was parked outside the shop to assist the suspects in fleeing from the scene.”

Kock described the three male suspects as being about 1.7 and 1.8 metres tall and English speaking.

“They were dressed in grey or black clothing and wore caps. No injuries were reported to the police.”

He appealed to members of the public who can assist with information to contact Detective Warrant Officer Desmond Markgraaff on 082 302 0407.

Store owner, Rudi Ferreira, indicated that more than 35 handsets were stolen.

“Fortunately no one was injured. One of the staff members who was not at the store at the time of the robbery had keys to the safe, so they were not held up for very long.

“Although the staff are extremely traumatised and have been sent for counselling.”

Ferreira said the store would be closed today because they had to reorder stock.

He added that they were examining footage of the incident and were co-operating with the police in order to identify the suspects.

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