2007-03-14 : Gunmen rob centre with military precision

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2007-03-14 : Gunmen rob centre with military precision

Postby GOSA » Mon, 2007-03-26 09:17


Gunmen rob centre with military precision
Lee Rondganger
March 14 2007 at 10:06AM

Nine security guards could do nothing but watch as 25 AK47-wielding
gunmen smashed through the boomgates of a newly built centre.

Using seven vehicles, including 4x4s, bakkies and luxury sedans, the
robbers then pulled up alongside the Grays and Gerani clothing stores
at the World Wear shopping centre on Beyers Naude Drive in Fairland.

They smashed through the glass windows with pick axes and began
raiding the shops of thousands of rands worth of clothing.

While some gang members cleaned out the shops, a few of their
accomplices took the nine security guards into the control room at the
back of the centre. The guards were robbed, handcuffed and then
ordered to lie on the ground.

'There was no way I was going to confront them'
The robbery occurred at 6.05am on Tuesday, about an hour before
workers were due to start arriving at the centre. The brazen attack
was executed with military precision and took just six minutes to

The incident bears a striking resemblance to similar robberies that
have occurred at the newly opened Chilli Lane shopping centre on
Rivonia Road over the past few months.

Heavily armed gangs numbering up to 14 men have struck at several
stores and a bank at Chilli Lane.

On February 5, 14 armed men cleaned out the upmarket Silver Moon
clothing shop at the centre, making off with more than R300 000 worth
of clothes.

Like the Chilli Lane centre, World Wear opened its doors in late
October in 2006.

'Executed with military precision'

In both robberies, the men struck in the early hours of the morning
and made quick exits without firing any shots.

Detectives at Tuesday's robbery dusted the shops for fingerprints and
combed the area for any clues that might lead them to the robbers.

Johannesburg police spokesperson Captain Bheki Mavundla said it was
too early to say whether the same gang that struck on Tuesday was
responsible for the robberies at Chilli Lane.

"We are still investigating. The detectives are going through the
scene and will be establishing whether they can be linked."

Baboo Singer, a worker at the centre, said he had just arrived at the
parking lot when he saw them enter.

"There were a lot of them. They came in, smashed open the stores, took
what they wanted and left. There was no way I was going to confront
them. They were armed and you could see they knew what they were

Kelly Glendining, the centre manager of World Wear, said they were
looking at ways to beef up security.

Surprise Selepe, the manager of the exclusive Gerani men's clothing
store, said that they had not calculated yet how much stock had been
taken, but added: "It's a lot."

o This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on March 14, 2007
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