A hammer gang of robbers hit another shopping mall early this morning.
Blue Security operations manager Brian Jackson said a gang of five armed robbers, two of them wearing balaclavas, entered The Workshop shopping mall in the CBD at around 6.10am. “The armed robbers walked into the mall and pointed their firearms at security guards on site before using a hammer to smash their way into a clothing store. They smashed the front door down and grabbed clothing and cash before fleeing the scene,” he said.
Jackson said the hammer gang fled in a vehicle that was parked in Dr AB Xuma Street (formerly Commercial Street). He said the latest incident followed at least five confirmed incidents of business burglaries reported at shopping malls and a further ten unconfirmed reports of similar crimes reported to neighbourhood watch networks from Umhlanga to Scottburgh over the past three weeks.
“Most of the incidents reported to us occurred at night or in the early morning several hours before stores would be expected to open for business. Armed gangs smashed their way through the glass doors of stores using hammers in some cases before fleeing with goods ranging from alcohol, clothing, jewellery and electronic devices,” Jackson said. “It is unclear at this stage whether the incidents are linked to a single gang as police investigations are underway.”
Armed gangs have targeted malls including The Pearls Mall, Musgrave Centre, The Atrium and Southway Mall, while there have also been unconfirmed reports of incidents at Gateway, Scottburgh Mall, The Galleria Mall, Bluff Towers, Watercrest Mall, Pinecrest Shopping Centre, Kloof Village Mall, The Pavilion and Westwood Mall.
“We urge retail chains, independent store owners and their staff to be vigilant and to ensure that business alarm systems are correctly activated and to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity when opening up and closing their shops. If you do not already have CCTV surveillance camera installed in the shop, consider upgrading your security as the intelligence gathered via camera footage can got a long way to help the police and security companies investigate these crimes,” he said.
Jackson advised staff and managers to make sure that no-one is following them to the store premises and to immediately report any suspicious activity to the police and their security company. “Gangs have also walked into stores posing as customers before holding up and robbing staff so it’s important to be security conscious throughout the day and ready to press your panic button in an emergency.”
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