Cellphone shop staff traumatised after slick robbery

[caption id="attachment_225281" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Security officials at the Vodacom Shop in the Moffett on Main Lifestyle Centre.
Picture : Eugene Coetzee[/caption]

A robbery of a cellphone store in a Walmer shopping mall was so slickly executed yesterday that neighbouring retail outlets were hardly aware it had taken place.

A gang of robbers targeted the Vodacom Shop in the Moffett on Main Lifestyle Centre, leaving staff traumatised and crying. Three robbers, with at least one carrying a pistol, stole about 32 new cellphones worth about R120 000 as well as money.

Shortly after the robbery at about 9am, Vodacom staff members could be seen crying while talking about their ordeal to police.

The robbers used the centre’s main entrance to walk out and make their escape.

The robbery comes a day after the Pep Stores outlet in Heugh Road, Walmer, was robbed at about midday on Monday. An employee of one of the Vodacom Shop’s neighbouring stores said they had heard a woman scream that they were being robbed.

“One woman screamed – but that was as they [suspects] were leaving. No one knew what was happening until after they had already left,” the employee, who declined to be named, said.

Police spokesman Warrant Officer Alwin Labans said: “The staff were held at gunpoint by at least one of the suspects who was carrying a firearm. “The suspects then ushered all the staff into the back storeroom and locked them inside. The men then stole several new cellphones and walked out the shop.

“After the incident, police and armed response as well as on-site security were aler ted.” A white VW Polo getaway car was waiting in the car park, outside the entrance, for the men.

Moffett on Main Lifestyle Centre marketing manager Aimee Guscott said: “We are doing everything in our power to prevent unfortunate events like this. I do, however, want to urge the public to be vigilant at all times.”

On Monday, six men held up Pep Stores employees during the midday robbery, demanding money and cellphones. “Various items were stolen, including clothing,” Labans said.

The men fled in three separate vehicles that were parked around the corner from the shop. Labans said that while staff had been left traumatised in both cases, no one had been injured.