Two different cellular phone shops in two separate malls, one in Centurion and the other in Irene were robbed on Friday, with the suspects getting away with some cellphones. While some cellphones were recovered from those suspects the police managed to arrest, there were others that got away with their loot.
In Centurion, some six individuals held up a Vodacom shop at the Centurion Mall. According to a Gauteng Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Lesetja Mothiba, the six people entered the shop sometime during the day and held up everyone in the shop at gunpoint. They then ordered the staff in the shop to load the smartphones into two bags before locking them up into a back office while they made their way out of the shop and mall. However, as they left, the manager produced a spare key and let everyone out before phoning the police.
At the same time, some Lyttlelton police sector members who were in the area serving a protection order heard over the radio about the robbery and also saw the quantum that was carrying the loot. They ordered the car to stop and, as it did, one of the suspects brought out a firearm and tried to shoot at the police. The police quickly retaliated resulting in the injury of that suspect and another that was in the van. The six were promptly arrested and will be appearing in court soon to face charges of theft and possession of stolen firearms.
In another incident, another quick reaction by the police led to the arrest of one of the suspects in the robbery of a Telkom shop in Irene Mall. The group entered the Telkom shop while pushing a trolley. When the manager tried to stop them, they brought out a firearm and threatened him with it. They proceeded to demand keys to the safe and took from it cellphones and cash of an as yet unknown value.
The suspects fired shots into the air before making their way from the scene with the stolen items in two separate cars, a quantum and an Audi A4. The Audi A4, which was apparently hijacked in Secunda, Mpumalanga, was recovered when the suspect that was driving it was cornered by the police in Olifansfontein road in Midrand. Only two of the stolen cellphones were recovered during the arrest. The other suspects, who got away in the quantum are still at large. According to the police, the suspect will face charges of business robbery and the possession of suspected stolen firearms.
These robberies seem to be part of a recent trend in which robbers are targeting cellular phone shops. The police need to be commended for the two swift reactions that have resulted in the arrests. Social networks, particularly Twitter, were abuzz with people expressing anger about these robberies. While some were threatening to boycott the malls in question, there were others who commended the police on a job well done.