A Uitenhage shop owner chased down and caught a robber armed with a toy gun only moments after he and two others stormed into the store.
The robbery happened at 7.20am when three men entered the Hope Supermarket in Cannon Street, Uitenhage, shortly after opening on Tuesday.
Police spokeswoman Captain Gerda Swart said the owner, 43, was held hostage inside the shop after three suspects entered and one held him at gunpoint.
“The three threatened to shoot him and stole money, cigarettes and airtime. After the robbery, all three fled on foot,” she said.
“The owner gave chase, shouting at others for assistance. Several community members joined in the chase and managed to tackle and subdue one of the suspects.”
Swart said the man was arrested by the residents who later established that the firearm used in the robbery was a realistic-looking toy gun.
“Police were alerted and a man aged 25 was handed over to police.
“The other two men managed to evade arrest and escaped on foot,” Swart said.
Swart said more arrests were expected soon.
She said the shop owner did not want to talk to the media.
Uitenhage Station Commander Brigadier Laurence Soekoe welcomed the arrest, calling on more residents to assist in combating crime.
“When the community and the police join forces to fight crime, it sends a strong message to criminals that their activities will not be tolerated and that they will be brought to book if they target our communities,” he said.
The man is due to appear in the Uitenhage Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, where he will be charged with armed robbery.