Cocktail bar co-owned by Panayiotou hit by robbers

The Infinity Bar. Picture: EUGENE COETZEE
The Infinity Bar. Picture: EUGENE COETZEE

A COCKTAIL bar co-owned by murder accused Christopher Panayiotou was robbed by three gunmen yesterday morning.

Two staff members were held hostage in the kitchen of Infinity Cocktail Bar in Algoa Park by the gunmen, who demanded the money from weekend sales.

The bar made headlines earlier this year when police arrested Infinity bouncer and alleged middleman turned state witness Luthando Siyoli, 31, for his suspected role in the murder and abduction of Panayiotou’s wife Jayde, 29.

Panayiotou, who was denied bail and remains in prison, is accused of masterminding Jayde’s murder.

A handful of people, most of whom were at the separate slot machine section, were inside at the time of the robbery.

Police said the patrons were unaware that a robbery had taken place until the alarm was sounded after the men fled.

Atlas Security operations manager Monty Montgomery, whose team was first on the scene, said the robbery happened at about 10.30am.

“It appears that three men entered the building posing as customers and ordered two beers. They sat down at a table near the bar and poured their drinks,” he said.

“Minutes later the three got up and held the barlady at gunpoint while ushering her into the back section, where the manageress was also present.”

Montgomery said the trio demanded the keys to the safe, which were not kept on the premises.

“They demanded the weekend takings and when told that the money was not there, they tied them up.

“One suspect then grabbed cartons of cigarettes and fled out the front door, returning minutes later.

“All three then exited the building and presumably left in a waiting getaway car,” he said.

A fourth suspect is believed to have been involved, blocking the entrance to the building while the robbery was under way.

Police spokesman Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said a case of armed robbery was being investigated.

-Gareth Wilson

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