Shop owner held up, robbed

2011-01-10 00:00

A COPESVILLE businessman lost his earnings for Friday to three thugs who hijacked him just after he had closed his liquor store near Shorty’s Farm informal settlement.

Ranjith Gajadhar had locked his business at about 8.20 pm and was heading home when three young men, two armed with guns and one with a knife, accosted him near a stop sign a few metres from the store.

He said they ordered him out of his van and, after he hesitated, one of the culprits put a gun to his temple.

“I was following behind my son and they didn’t trouble him, and as he moved away from the stop sign they came straight to me. I thought that they were just waiting for a taxi.

“They took my van, but drove about three metres and the anti-hijack system kicked in. They then called me to come back as they were just fooling around,” said the shaken Gajadhar at his home yesterday.

Before the men drove off about four residents from a nearby informal settlement came to the man’s aid, but they were forced to retreat when the hijackers aimed their firearms at them.

By the time the van had stalled more people came to the rescue, for­cing the robbers to flee.

Police were called by one of Gajadhar’s sons while community members went in pursuit of the robbers.

One hijacker was apprehended by the mob, but managed to escape before the police arrived.

Gajadhar said he normally closes his shop early, but Friday was very busy and he was forced to close late.

“I’ve been trading in that area for about 42 years and I’ve never experienced something like this. What’s scary is that these are very young boys throwing their future away like this,” he said.

He said police response was quick.

Ward committee member Flora Ngubane said hijacking incidents are not common in the Copesville informal settlements, but in the suburbs instead.

“We have incidents of crime in the area, but carjacking is not common. It may be that the area is developing and various characters are moving in,” said Ngubane.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said no arrests have yet been made.

She appealed to anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the suspects to contact Warrant Officer Vusumuzi Shabangu on 033 387 9622 or 083 308 0234.

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