CBD clothing shop robbed

2017-05-24 06:00

DRAMATIC scenes played out inside Sportscene clothing shop on Church Street as knife-wielding robbers held customers and staff hostage last Friday.

The armed gang of six, pretending to be customers, entered the shop around 12pm and forced employees and customers to be silent while they ransacked the clothes rails.

An employee, who spoke to the Maritzburg Echo on condition of anonymity, said the men walked into the shop carrying big bags.

“When they walked into the store, they looked like normal customers. They were well dressed and we didn’t suspect anything until they produced knives and told us to be silent. They were all around the store; others were at the shoe section and others in the clothing section near the door. They distracted staff members by seeking advice on clothing they wanted to buy while the others were loading clothing into the bags.”

The employee said the six then fled on foot and staff members and police, who were in the vicinity, tried to intercept them and managed to arrest two.

“We think they’ve been here before to suss out the situation and they saw that we didn’t have tight security and that it was mostly female staff working at this branch.

“We are still traumatised by the ordeal because one of our colleagues was injured during the incident when she was pushed out of the way by one of the robbers.”

The employee said the robbers took 36 units of clothing from the rails each costing R500.

“The situation is still a bit tense because the female workers are horrified. They have been offered trauma counselling to deal with the incident, but that’s not enough because their fear is that these men will get bail and come back,” said the source.

In another incident across the road from Sportscene, police had to be called to Legit clothing shop last Friday after a man from KwaDambuza held his girlfriend at gunpoint inside the changing rooms.

According to a source, the angry boyfriend came into the store around 9am looking for his girlfriend, who is employed at Legit.

“We told him that her shift only begins at 11am and he said he would be back. Around 11am he was at the door looking for her again, and when she walked in, he started assaulting her and pushed her into one of the change rooms.”

The source said from what they gathered, the boyfriend was enraged after reading WhatsApp messages between his girlfriend and another man.

“He accused her of cheating and while he was assaulting her he kept saying she must call her other boyfriend and tell him to come to the store.”

A customer, who ran out during the incident thinking it was a robbery, alerted the police.

“She refused to open a case against him and the police had to let him go.

“He will end up killing her because this is not the first time he has assaulted her,” said the source. Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese confirmed the Sportscene robbery and that two of the suspects had been arrested.

Ngobese said he had no knowledge of the Legit incident.

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