Accused describes brazen mall robberies in court

2018-06-13 16:38

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A man described on Tuesday how armed with knives, pliers, a crowbar and hammer he and his friends brazenly robbed the Cascades Shopping Centre and the Midlands Liberty Mall last year.

The last robbery ended with him being shot in his legs and his accomplice, Elvis Hlengwa, being killed.

Sabelo Khambuza came clean on Tuesday by pleading guilty in the Pietermaritzburg high court to the murder of Hlengwa, aggravated robbery and housebreaking with intent to steal and theft.

He said that on March 7 last year, he and his friends planned to break into one of the shops at the Cascades Shopping Centre. They arrived there at 7 pm and came across a security guard whom they assaulted with the crowbar.

“We dragged him towards a cellular shop called I-World Shop and left him there.”

They then forced the shop door open and stole six cellphones that were on the display shelf. He added that they later sold the phones and shared the profits.

Then on May 13, they planned to pull off another robbery, at the city’s largest mall. At 8 pm, the men walked into the mall. They broke the glass door of Incredible Connection and stole cameras, games and many more items. They used a trolley to carry their loot outside.

“We took the N3 highway in the direction of Durban. We drove for a few minutes until I noticed blue police lights behind our vehicle. The police tried to stop our vehicle but the driver accelerated and the police officers began shooting at our vehicle.”

Khambuza added that they took the Umlaas Road off-ramp in an attempt to avoid being nabbed. He heard gunshots but did not know if any of his friends had guns. He was shot and arrested.

Khambuza said he later learned that Hlengwa was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.

He said that although he did not have the direct intention to kill his friend, he did foresee that by breaking into the mall, he and his gang might meet resistance and might have to use weapons.

Argument on sentencing takes place on Tuesday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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