Burglars steal millions at stadium after Bieber show

2013-05-14 00:00

JUST hours after the sold-out Justin Bieber concert at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, thieves stole millions in takings in a crime described as well-planned.

The gang may have had inside help.

Jacques Grobbelaar, CEO of Stadium Management South Africa, which manages the FNB Stadium, said the break-in happened sometime between 2 am and 8 am yesterday.

He said the gang broke into a safe next to a concealed room in the facility’s basement.

“There is just one door to the room and it is never used, except at concerts. Very few people know about it. We suspect the break-in was internally orchestrated,” Grobbelaar told sister paper Beeld.

He said the gang gained access to the room and removed a ceiling tile to climb into the ceiling space. The tile was replaced.

“The safe is right next to this room. The robbers chiseled through the bricks above the safe.”

Then they used ropes to drop 3,5 metres into the safe.

Millions of rands were stolen, as well as backpacks with “unidentified contents”.

Grobbelaar said the last staff member left the stadium at 2 am and the first arrived at 8 am yesterday.

Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Katlego Mogale said a woman member of staff was the first to notice that the room had been broken into.

Mogale confirmed that the robbers’ haul was millions of rands in takings from the stadium’s bars, and from merchandise sold at the capacity concert.

Grobbelaar said the room was in a part of the stadium handed over to Big Concerts and its service providers in the run-up to Sunday’s concert. It could have been used as office or storage space.

No stadium personnel would have had access during this time, he said.

“We are very disturbed by the incident because it happened under our noses,” he said.

He said Big Concerts hired people from eight different security companies, and there were 3 700 outside workers on site.

“In future, we will negotiate with clients in a more secure way and place greater emphasis on accreditation and criminal background checks,” he said.

A single police vehicle was seen at the stadium by 6 pm yesterday.

Grobbelaar said it would be closed for two days.

“We are busy interviewing all staff who were at the stadium on Sunday night and yesterday morning.”

By yesterday evening, 40 interviews had been completed.

Stadium Management South Africa gave CCTV footage and building plans to the police to help in the investigation.

“There are no CCTV cameras in the room, but there are many inside and outside the stadium. We are going through all the footage.

“The police also have experts who look at people’s body language [on the footage],” he said.

Big Concerts spokesperson Dionne Domyan said they would not comment, bearing in mind the safety and security of their staff.

No one had been arrested yesterday.

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