Gunmen storm warehouse, then ransack home

2013-11-20 00:00

WAREHOUSE manager Donavan Pillay said he was crossing his fingers that the thugs who barged into their business yesterday wielding AK47s would not come back.

Pillay, warehouse manager for the Kitchen Furniture and The Palletizer business, told The Witness that they were all shaken by the incident when about four men in balaclavas with “big guns” entered their warehouse in Clairwood.

The company produces wooden pallets and furniture.

The incident happened a stone’s throw away from the South Coast Madressa School.

Pillay said the men, who arrived in two vehicles, got inside through the back gate — the entrance used by their trucks.

Earlier yesterday morning he said he was told about the suspicious looking men, but had forgotten about it when they got busy.

He said the staff members all gathered in one place when they saw the men with guns.

Many of the workers were armed with planks and hammers they had been using while they were working.

The thugs then apparently fired shots.

“My son quickly came running into the office and said I must lock the door and call the police. I then dialled 10111. The workers were frightened because the attackers had big guns and looked professional. The police wouldn’t have stood a chance against them.”

However, he said they did not get a chance to execute their plan properly because they were also surrounded by the workers.

“I don’t think they were expecting to see so many workers. Surely they were not going to kill so many people?”

Pillay said afterwards the men ran next door and ransacked a woman’s home and took whatever they could find before they fled.

He said one of the teachers at the Madressa told him that when shots were fired most of them peeped out of curiosity.

Clairwood Community Protection Forum (CPF) co-ordinator Juan van Dyk said household robberies are quite common, but expressed surprise that a business was robbed so brazenly during daytime.

However, he criticised some businesses for not increasing security.

He said they had proposed to hire a security company to guard the businesses, but did not want to join forces with the CPF.

Van Dyk said it was proven that having patrolling security guards decreased crime by at least 95%. This this year they wanted to upgrade their system from not having a guard but patrolling vehicles and cameras.

The shop owners and other businesses said they cannot afford to pay R420 a week.

Out of about 80 business owners, only seven expressed interest and others were not interested, said Van Dyk.

“If we are not going to protect the customers then they are not going to come to Clairwood,” he said.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said a case of house robbery was opened at Brighton Beach police station after a group of suspects entered the warehouse’s neighbouring property and took household appliances.

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