Gauteng malls robbed 11x in past month

Johannesburg - Gauteng malls have been robbed 11 times in the past month, Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant General Lesetja Mothiba said on Tuesday.

"Gauteng is the worst affected province," Mothiba told reporters in Johannesburg.

He said there had been isolated incidents in other provinces, but that Gauteng malls had been robbed 11 times since 13 August.

On Monday night, a robbery took place at an Altech Autopage cellphone store at the Glen shopping centre in Ormonde, Johannesburg. Three armed robbers stole 15 cellphones worth R34 000.

The Samsung, iStore, and Vodacom shops in the mall have all been robbed since November last year.

Man shot dead

On Saturday, a G4S security guard was shot dead when four men robbed him and his colleagues of cash they had collected from the Diepkloof Black Chain shopping centre in Soweto.

A Samsung shop was robbed at the Cradlestone mall in Krugersdorp, on the West Rand, on Friday.

"The robbers made off with cellphones and tablets worth hundreds of thousands of rand," Mothiba said.
On Thursday, a Timberland clothing store at the World Wear shopping centre in Fairlands, Johannesburg, was robbed.

Eight men took all the clothing in the shop and an undisclosed amount of money.

On Wednesday, the Telkom Connect shop in the Eastgate Shopping Centre was robbed of cellphones and an undisclosed amount of cash.

A cellphone store in Northgate Mall was robbed last Tuesday. A Telkom Direct store at Kolonnade Shopping Centre in Pretoria, was robbed on the same day.

"This is the second robbery at the [Kolonnade] store in almost two weeks," Mothiba said.

Nyalas to be deployed

Last Monday, a cashbox was stolen from two security guards at a Pick n Pay paypoint in the Maponya Mall, in Soweto.

Apple iStores were robbed on 13, 14 and 15 August at Cresta Shopping Centre, The Glen and Centurion malls respectively.

Mothiba said 12 malls had been identified as high risk. Police visibility would be increased, with the deployment of Nyalas (armoured vehicles).

The modus operandi of the robbers was to enter shops posing as customers.

Mothiba said police suspected all the robberies may have been inside jobs, which was worrying.

"At Kolonnade the robbers were waiting for the delivery vehicle bringing the cellphones. How did they know it was coming on that day and at that time?

Police "definitely" suspected that all the robbers had inside information, either from employees or security guards.

He urged employers to look into their employees' integrity because it made the police and shop owners' jobs difficult.

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