Cash heist and chaos at Promenade

KAYLYNN PALM

There was pandemonium on Sunday when six armed robbers stormed Pick * Pay at the Promenade shopping mall, causing panicked shoppers and staff to flee the store.

Mitchell’s Plain police spokesperson, Sergeant Jerome Voegt, said the robbery occurred at 10.45am on Sunday May 1. Sunday was also a South African Social Security Agency grants payday and cash-in-transit staff were making a money delivery at Pick * Pay.

“A cash in-transit robbery occurred at the mall. It is alleged that the suspects were inside the supermarket pretending to be customers when they approached two security officers inside the supermarket.

“Three armed suspects pointed firearms at the security guards and they took a money bag containing about R 220 000 in cash,” he said.

Sergeant Voegt said both security officers’ firearms were taken and the suspects fled the supermarket in a silver VW TDi with the registration number CY 222 that was parked near the mall.

“A cash-in-transit case was opened for investigation. No one was injured during the robbery and no shots were fired. No arrests have yet been made,” Sergeant Voegt said.

Speaking on behalf of Liberty Promenade centre management, Nomzamo Radebe, the chief executive officer for JHI Retail, confirmed the cash heist inside the Pick * Pay store.

“No one was injured during the incident and the suspects fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash. The centre security team are working with the SAPS, who are investigating the incident. Centre management cannot make any further comments at this stage as this may compromise the investigation.

“The safety and security of shoppers and tenants is of utmost importance to Liberty Promenade centre management,” she said.

On Monday May 2 an apparent shoplifting incident at a store inside the Promenade, yet again caused panic among shoppers.

Laverne Charles from Beacon Valley was at the Promenade at 11.45am on Monday with her 62-year-old mother and four-year-old twin boys.

Ms Charles said they were on their way to Pick * Pay, near Mr Price when they heard people shouting and running towards the exit. “It was complete chaos, people were all over, scared and panicked. My mother grabbed the twins and then as she turned I called them and they ran to me.

“My mother, however, got the smell of gas or something, that made her dizzy and lame. She then fell and got up, trying to remain strong. But as more people sped through the mall, she fell again, crawled to the kiosk and then hurt her knee. She lay in the mall for about two hours in pain waiting for the paramedics,” she said.

Ms Charles said it was a scary experience and they will not return to the Promenade anytime soon.

“We were all traumatised, my mother and children. This is the second criminal incident that has occurred, Sunday and Monday.

“Management seriously need to beef up security,” she said.

Ms Charles’ mother is currently in hospital recovering from her knee injury.

When the Plainsman contacted the police, Sergeant Voegt said there has been no formal report on the incident and he could not confirm the case.

* Anyone with information about the cash-in-transit heist at Pick * Pay on Sunday May 1can contact the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, the Hawks, on 021 918 3595/3750, 082 469 3268 or Crime Stop on 0860 10 111.