AK47-wielding gangsters in daylight smash raid

2014-05-15 00:00

NEARLY a dozen heavily armed men smashed their way into a Durban business in broad daylight yesterday.

Carrying sledgehammers and crowbars, the men destroyed the security doors while pointsmen wielding assault rifles positioned themselves outside the business premises, turning away cars while forcing several victims to lie on the ground just kilometres away from Morningside.

Armed with AK47 and R1 rifles, the men raided the Springfield Harvey’s World Travel on Alpine Road, Springfield, smashing down doors with sledgehammers and beating the staff as they ransacked the business searching for a safe and stealing cash takings from the previous day.

Business owner Mr S. Osman said he was “furious” that “South Africans allowed people like this to walk around heavily armed”.

“I am a fourth generation South African but have now moved to Dubai. I was visiting to see my family and attend to my businesses. Robberies like this are unheard of in Dubai. You are safe to do business, safe to carry cash and safe to walk around the streets,” said Osman, who also owns the petrol station on the same premises.

Witnesses said at about 10.30 am, the suspects arrived in four cars — Audis and a KIA.

While the petrol attendants were ordered to lie on the ground, some of the crew stopped cars from turning into the business premises.

The men were dressed in blue overall pants. Some wore white balaclavas while others wore no masks at all.

Osman said while his staff were traumatised and some were hurt during the raid, although no one was seriously injured.

“Some of the staff locked themselves in the bathroom but the men smashed open the doors and dragged them out,” he said.

A witness, who asked to remain anonymous, said “Hollywood had nothing on this hit”.

“They were in and out in seven minutes. When I saw them jump out of the cars, people just ran. Some went inside the building and others remained outside and some of them took point positions.

“Once they were done inside two vehicles drove southbound on Alpine Road and another two sped up a nearby side road,” the witness said.

The police and armed security arrived just minutes after the suspects had disappeared.

Another witness said the strike at the nearby Umgeni interchange, which is currently under construction, has absorbed all of the area’s police resources.

“The police are managing the striking workers while these gangs are hitting businesses,” said the witness.

• jonathan.erasmus@witness.co.za

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