Cops shot by gang of robbers

2013-10-14 00:00

TWO policemen were wounded when a gang of armed men raided a Chinese-owned store in Bulwer at around 2 pm yesterday afternoon.

The robbers, who were reportedly armed with AK47 assault rifles, disarmed two security guards and ordered the customers inside the shop — which is on the corner of the R617 and Jackson Road — to lie down.

They then stole airtime vouchers, chocolates and an undisclosed sum of money, much of it in coins, which The Witness understands could be as much as R100 000.

The shop’s CCTV hard drive was also removed, according to witnesses.

Bulwer police were alerted to the robbery while it was in progress.

When the two officers arrived on the scene a few minutes later, some of the robbers, who were stationed outside the store, opened fire. Both officers suffered gunshot wounds to their legs. They were later rushed to hospital in Pietermaritzburg where they are reportedly in a stable condition.

According to photographer Robin Knott-Craig, who heard the gunshots when he was at the nearby Mountain Park Hotel, the ground was littered with the shells of AK47 ammunition, and that for 45 mm and 9 mm pistols.

Knott-Craig, who runs Vivid Photography, told The Witness that the policemen’s vehicle was riddled with bullet holes and that he believed the robbers may have used armour-piercing rounds.

Police spokesperson Thulani Zwane confirmed that the robbers had stolen firearms belonging to the wounded officers.

The gang made off in a Colt bakkie, but as they sped out of town, they forced the owner of a white bakkie, believed to be either a Corsa or an Isuzu, to a halt. The driver was ordered out of the vehicle at gunpoint, but was unharmed.

Police have since recovered both vehicles. They had been abandoned just outside the town.

Zwane said some of the stolen money and airtime vouchers were also recovered. The robbers remain at large.

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