Gunmen steal R1m worth of cellphones

Bags loaded with cellphones and gadgets were stolen in ten minutes during an armed robbery and hostage drama at Vodacom cellular mobile store at Beacon Bay’s Retail Park shopping mall yesterday morning.

TARGETED: Staff members at a Vodacom cellular mobile store at the Beacon Bay’s Retail Park were held at gunpoint by armed men who ran away with stock worth a million rands yesterday Picture: SIBONGILE NGALWA

The shop has been closed until further notice after all the stock was cleaned out by three men armed with revolvers in front of terrified staff and customers.

Store sales manager Colin Richardson said the three suspects made off with four extra-large bags filled with the latest smartphones, computer and modems.

Richardson said, 100 cellphones and 10 modem and routers including a number of Iphone 7s valued at R18000 each were stolen.

“We have just done counting the value of the stock lost and it is worth more than a R1-million,” he said.

Richardson said a nine-months pregnant staff member had to be rushed to a doctor following the terrifying ordeal.

Six of eight employees of the shop and five customers including a father and his three daughters were herded to the back store and held hostage. The other two staff members, Richardson and his assistant JP Pretorius, were forced to fill up four bags with the loot at gunpoint.

Pretorius said he was busy assisting customers before he felt a pat on the back from a man who then pulled a gun on him.

According to Richardson the incident took place shortly before 11am after one of the suspects entered the store carrying a laptop bag and pretended to have a query. The other two followed moments later. Richardson said the robbery took less than 10 minutes.

He said the three suspects joined another trio standing outside before speeding off in a white Corsa bakkie with no plate number.

Franchise manager at the store’s regional offices in Berea, Simamkele Smondile, said all the staff members who experienced the robbery would receive counselling.

This is the mall’s second robbery in two weeks after R100000 in stock was taken from PEP Store.

Mdantsane police spokesman Captain Nkosikho Mzuku said the Beacon Bay police were investigating a case of business robbery. The suspects remain at large. — malibongwed@dispatch.co.za

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