Robbers strike at crack of dawn

2008-09-30 00:00

Robberies at their premises are a major threat that business owners are facing.

The owner of Downtown Liquors in Mayor’s Walk, Selvan Keith Moodley, had a traumatic experience when robbers broke into his shop, tied his hands behind his back and knocked him unconscious yesterday morning.

Just before what seems to have been a planned robbery, Moodley was opening his shop at 7.30 am when he felt a cold, hard object being pushed against his back.

He didn’t get a chance to turn around and see his robbers; they forced him not to look at them.

Moodley said he did what they told him to.

It is believed that two robbers carried out the robbery. Police spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan said Moodley was instructed to open the premises, shoved into the shop and forced to open the tills, unlock the safe and hand over cash.

“No matter how careful you are, criminals will always hit you when you are unaware,” Moodley told The Witness.

The robbers might have been monitoring his moves over the past few days, he added.

“I believe they have been timing my movements. I think they thought I did not do banking yesterday because I did not leave the business premises.”

However, Moodley said he had been staying at the shop because a cashier at his shop had been on leave. “I sent someone else to bank some of the cash the previous day.”

The robbers forced Moodley to kneel down and tied his hands and legs with shoelaces. He was then ordered to put his head into the safe. Moodley said he heard a woman’s voice calling for one of the employees at the gate and believes this distracted the robbers. Jeevan said Moodley used the opportunity to try and free himself, but the suspects returned and struck him on the back of his head and he fell to the ground unconscious.

One of his employees who arrived at about 7.50 am revived him and went out to seek help.

The owners of a filling station in the same complex said one of their employees informed them of the robbery. “She came running and told us about the incident. I called the police immediately.”

The garage owners had first-hand experience of a robbery six months ago. “We were also robbed in March this year. Safety is a big concern; business owners should not keep cash in the premises,” said one.

The suspects fled from the scene on foot, taking with them an undisclosed amount of cash.

The garage has CCTV cameras and it is believed that yesterday’s activities might have been captured on video. The police could not say whether there were any leads, but The Witness understands that the CCTV footage may be used to identify the robbers.

Moodley was taken to hospital and treated for shock and minor injuries, but was released later.

Police investigations are continuing. The police are appealing to anyone with information that may assist in the investigation to contact detective inspector Omi Sanka of the Prestbury detective services on 033 845 7765 or 084 727 3053.

Anyone who wishes to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stop on their toll-free number 08600 10111.

sandilez@witness.co.za

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