Armed robbers snatch laptops from youngsters receiving computer training at Cape Town facility

2019-10-29 15:40
A computer keyboard. (Naseema Barday, News24)

A computer keyboard. (Naseema Barday, News24)

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Laptops were snatched in front of a group of youngsters receiving computer training at a Cape Town youth facility during an armed heist, the Department of Social Development confirmed on Tuesday.

Five gun-toting robbers held up the Crossroads Youth Café on Friday while a class was in session, escaping with the facility's most expensive equipment.

Spokesperson Joshua Chigome said a local organisation had been providing the training when the criminals hit.

According to the department, 16 laptops were stolen. Police though have said 11 were taken.

No one was injured in the incident.

"A criminal case has been laid, but the perpetrators haven't been found," he told News24.

He urged anyone with information to report it to the authorities.

Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez said in a statement that it was devastating that services established for vulnerable youth had been compromised.

"Youth cafés should be safe and positive spaces that provide opportunities for further development for our youth at risk across the province. It is the actions of a few that have robbed the youth in this community of access to opportunities and other services," she said.

"We are grateful that no one was injured during the ordeal. We have also offered all those affected by the incident counselling to help deal with the traumatic event."

According to the department, the café is one of the biggest after-school centres in the area.

The Crossroads centre, the 12th of its kind in the province, was opened in April. The City of Cape Town provided the facility, while NPO Ikamva Labantwana Bethu help local youth with after-school care, life skills and tutoring in maths and literacy.

Young people were also trained as baristas and given computer training.

The cafés also offer high-speed internet and computer access for promising entrepreneurs and jobseekers.

Chigome said the facility continued to operate.

Police spokesperson Mihlali Majikela said according to their reports, three armed suspects had entered the youth centre in Ntsikizi Street at about 10:00 that morning.

"The suspects pointed their firearms at them and told them to keep quiet as they took eleven laptops estimated to be worth an undetermined value," Majikela said.

No arrests have been made, he confirmed.

Anyone with information is requested to contact Nyanga police on 021 380 3320/6000 or CrimeStop on 0860010111.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime
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