Five held after bullets fly in Greenacres robbery
Five men were arrested following a dramatic armed robbery at the Greenacres Shopping Centre in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday – with one of the suspects detained in the outside toilet of a house by an Adcockvale resident.
At least seven armed men fired at police as they ran out of the shopping centre, shortly after robbing the Cell C shop.
The shooting occurred just outside the Shoprite Mall entrance shortly after midday.
This was the third robbery at the centre in the past two months.
Police arrested one of the suspected gunmen in the carpark outside the Shoprite entrance shortly after the robbery.
He was caught as he fled across the carpark, firing random shots.
The other four suspects were arrested after a car and foot chase when the getaway vehicle was abandoned in Newton Park.
Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said the robbers had posed as customers before pulling out firearms.
“The staff were ushered to the back office and the manager was forced to open the safe,” she said.
About 35 cellphones and two laptops were stolen.
After the robbery, the men had run out of the store, firing their weapons, Naidu said.
“When they got into the carpark, they tried to jump into the getaway car, a Toyota Etios, parked outside the Shoprite Mall entrance.
“Police were, however, already in the carpark and one of the suspects [allegedly] opened fire on the responding officers.
“He failed to make it to the getaway vehicle and it sped off.
“The suspect was arrested running across the carpark towards the road.”
Other police officers spotted the vehicle speeding away and gave chase.
“A car chase ensued all the way to Burt Drive, where the suspects abandoned the car while police were on their tail,” Naidu said.
“One suspect was arrested there, while the others scattered, resulting in a chase on foot.”The fleeing suspects scrambled across the open field alongside Burt Drive.
“Police cordoned off the area and the suspects fled into Adcockvale Extension, a residential area.”
One suspect was caught hiding in the garden of a house on the corner of Nugget Crescent and Van der Vyver Street.
Another suspect was caught minutes later hiding in a garden in Middleton Street.
Eric Jamneck, 45, who lives in Middleton Street, said he had seen one of the men coming towards his garden.
“I was inside the house when my girlfriend said suddenly that there was somebody in our yard.
“I yelled and the man jumped over to the house next door,” he said.
Jamneck said his neighbour, who declined to comment, had noticed that his outside toilet door was ajar.
“When he went inside, he discovered a man hiding inside.”
Jamneck said the neighbour, who had been armed with a firearm, had held the suspect there until the police arrived.
A fourth suspect was shot, and then arrested, while trying to flee from police in CJ Langenhoven Drive.
“Five suspects were arrested and four firearms recovered,” Naidu said. At least two other suspects were still on the run.
Greenacres Shopping Centre manager Brent Starr said the robbery had taken place at about 12.36pm.
In June, five robbers, using the same entrance, made off with bags of jewellery worth more than R4m from Creative Jewellers.
A week earlier, six men robbed the Samsung Teletek electronics store in the centre of cellphones, watches and money.
They fired one shot as they fled.
And last week, the iStore in Walmer Park was robbed by seven men.