Robbers aim at cafes

2017-04-25 06:01
Niefies Foodworld in 3rd Avenue is the latest location of a spate of business robberies.PHOTO: gary van dyk

Niefies Foodworld in 3rd Avenue is the latest location of a spate of business robberies.PHOTO: gary van dyk

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Owners of fast food shops and food stores in Grassy Park fear that they are being targeted by criminals looking for quick cash after two daring robberies in the area.

Police have confirmed the latest robbery happened early on Friday morning.

Grassy Park police spokesperson Constable Lubabalo Balintulo says five men entered Niefies Foodworld in Third Avenue and pointed a gun at the owner and ­customers.

“They took an undisclosed amount of money, cigarettes, as well as a cellphone from a customer,” he says.

“Luckily no shots were fired and no-one was injured but detectives followed up on information and a 31-year-old man has already been arrested.”

Two days before that the popular Bona Fast Foods in Victoria Road was robbed when three robbers struck at about 21:00 on Tuesday last week.

Balintulo says the robbers stormed into the shop and forced the customers into a ­corner.

“The robbers then pistol-whipped one of the staff and demanded money from a safe,” he says.

“Then they took the car keys from the store manager and a customer and drove off in a black BMW M5 and a silver Ford Focus with an undisclosed amount of money.”

Michael van Wyk, a regular at the cafe, says it is unbelievable that this could have happened at the popular cafe.

“They’ve been here for more than 30 years and this is the first time that something like this has happened,” he says.

“What is happening in the area is scary and now there was an incident in Third Avenue as well. Where are you safe nowadays?”

Look for targets

Another resident who did not want to be named feels that an increase in crime-fighting activities by residents could be why criminals are targeting these “soft targets”.

“Over the past few years many areas have started initiatives like watches and street committees to make their areas safer and this could be affecting their search for ­targets.

“I suppose now they will have to include our businesses in their patrols as well.”

Commander of Grassy Park Police Station, Colonel Shawn van Wyk, confirms that with more people taking part in neighbourhood watches there is less crime in the residential areas.

He says he is thankful that no lives were lost in these latest robberies, but people must always be aware of their safety in these situations.

“The shops are becoming targets and the guys that are doing these robberies are heavily armed. We definitely want people not to try and be heroes in these situations. Stay calm and do what you are told. These criminals could be heavily armed and not hesitate to shoot if confronted.

“However, we do welcome information leading to the arrest of these criminals and even have a reward system in place if we get tips that lead to arrests.”

Anyone with information on these robberies or other crimes should call 021 700 3900 or 078 353 2922.

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