Elderly woman thwarts robbery

2014-06-27 00:00

A 73-YEAR-OLD woman thwarted an armed robbery at a Hayfields Mall jewellery store yesterday when she screamed for help.

Diana Hawthorn entered Natal Wholesale Jewellers to leave a bracelet for repair at about midday and stumbled on the robbery.

She walked in to find three men in the shop.

“One man was bundling the owner into the back, a second was holding the assistant’s head down on the counter, while the third was bundling swag into two bags,” said Hawthorn.

“I said, ‘What are you all doing? You are stealing jewellery.’ One turned to me and said I must get the hell out of the shop. I said, ‘No’. Instead I screamed for security to get attention,” said Hawthorn.

The men, having emptied six trays of jewellery, ran in different directions with bags of loot.

Cashiers at Pick n Pay, who face the jewellery store, said they did not notice a thing until they heard a scream from the shop.

A trolley assistant at the parking lot chased one of the robbers to the N3 and apprehended him.

The man, who would did not want be named, chased the robber, who was armed with a screwdriver, and used pepper spray on him.

“I don’t like sgebengas [criminals].

“The only thing I was thinking was to get the man. I noticed that he did not have a gun because he would have used it when coming out of the mall. I did not think about my life at the time. I kept my distance but he managed to stab me in my thumb,” said the man.

The man started work at the centre three weeks ago. He said he was trained as a security guard and used his skills to catch the man.

He returned with the suspect from the N3 to Clayton Avenue where the man was handcuffed and taken to a police van.

A second robber had been nabbed by security guards and off-duty police officers who had been in the mall at the time. He was found in possession of a revolver. Jewellery was recovered from both men.

A VW Jetta, suspected to be the men’s getaway car, was later found abandoned in Bulman Road in Mkondeni. The car, which had three bullet holes on the right side, had false number plates.

A source close to the investigation told The Witness that the car is thought to have belonged to a police officer as case dockets were found inside.

The men will appear in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court soon.

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