Armed robbers still at large

ARBOR PARK – A case of business robbery has been opened after a retail store at the Newcastle Mall was robbed at gunpoint on December 5.

The incident took place at around 9am, when four men entered the store.

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In a statement released by SAPS, two of the men were equipped with firearms and approached staff members.

“Five staff members were in the store at the time,” confirmed Lizzy Arumugan, Communication Liaison and Marketing Officer of Newcastle police.

The manageress and two other staff members were instructed to reveal the whereabouts of the store’s safe.

In the interim, the other two suspects were stationed at the front of the store, where they held the rest of the staff members hostage.

Two safes were breached as suspects forced the staff to hand over cellphones and place them in a sports bag provided.

“One of the staff members’ cellphone was also taken,” reported Mrs Arumugam.

According to police, the other safe was opened and money to the value of approximately R31 000 was stolen.

The suspects then made their escape in a green 1400 Nissan bakkie with a black bonnet.

No arrests have been made since the incident and the suspects are still at large.

Police encourage anyone with information to contact Captain Shabir Ismail on 079 500 0482.

Since the robbery, the Newcastle Mall has put additional measures in place to enhance security during the festive season.

“The mall urges tenants and customers to be vigilant and to report suspicious behaviour directly to its security control room on 034 326 1120,” said Beulah Rajkumar, Marketing Manager at Newcastle Mall.

Other malls in Newcastle were contacted on the strategies they have in place during the festive season.

Centre Manager at Scott Street Mall, Francois Panther said: “We have security guards 24-hours on the property,and supervisors perform regular visits. My contact details are visible on boards outside the mall.”

How can malls in Newcastle assist victims of crime which occur at their mall?

“We assist them by alerting SAPS and their relatives, and provide footage to police which can aid in apprehending perpetrators,” he said.

What safety tips can patrons practice to prevent becoming a victim of crime?

When you go to the mall, make sure your cars are locked and all windows are closed. All valuables must be out of sight; don’t leave them on the car seats.

Avoid drawing large amounts of money from the ATM. Should suspicious behaviour be witnessed, report immediately to security at the mall.

If you suspect you are being watched or followed, please contact the police.

Tersia Gopi

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