Safe City’s eyes in the sky help nab robbers swiftly

2014-05-07 00:00

A MAN who was robbed in the city centre yesterday in a slick operation has praised Pietermaritzburg’s Safe City team and the police for their rapid response and arrests of the suspects.

Danny Pillay told The Witness he had been feeling drowsy and was on his way to the doctor just before 2 pm, when on the corner of Garfield and Church Street, the robbers struck.

“It happened so quickly. I thought he was just greeting me, but it turned out he was just distracting me so his accomplices, who were behind me, could empty my pockets. They took all my stuff; my money, my ID, driver’s licence and cash cards.”

Pillay said as soon as he realised his belongings had gone, he started looking for the men.

He said miraculously, within 10 minutes of being robbed, he was in the police van, and the suspects had been arrested.

Lucas Holtzhausen of Safe City said one of their operators monitoring the city’s CCTV cameras, saw the three men robbing Pillay. With the Safe City operators watching the suspects, they tracked their movements and guided the police towards them.

Holtzhausen said one suspect was arrested outside Mndeni Meats in Retief Street whilst the other went into a tavern and was arrested there.

The third suspect escaped.

Holtzhausen said the police fetched Pillay and took him and the suspects to the Pietermaritzburg Central Police station where a case of common robbery was opened.

Holtzhausen thanked the SAPS for their “quick and efficient response”.

He warned the public to exercise extreme caution when they walk in the street with large sums of money, especially after withdrawing money from a bank or an ATM.

Pillay said at the police station, the suspects told him they would return his belongings if he dropped the case against him, however he said he would not do so. “The police told me that criminals often wear overalls over their clothes while robbing people in town and then take off the overalls and dump them.”

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