Police in Scottburgh on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast yesterday called on the public to be on the lookout for jewel thieves who robbed a major store in the town.
The robbers entered the Diamond Circle jewellery store and accosted two female staff before making off with the jewellery stash.
Police spokesman Captain Vincent Pandarum said two men entered the store.
"One of them produced a silver ring and asked to be shown a similar ring in gold," Pandarum said. "While he was being attended to his companion held the two woman shop assistants up at gunpoint.
"The robbers tied the women up and locked them up in the storeroom."
The men took a large variety of jewellery, stuffed it into a bag and escaped unnoticed.
Apart from being traumatised and pushed about, the women did not suffer any injury.
Pandarum said a case of armed robbery was being investigated.
"We appeal to members of the community who might have information to help the police solve the case," he said
The police are are also looking for a third suspect who might have been on lookout outside the store.
Irate shop owners said a lack of visible policing encouraged the criminals.
"Though it's hard to identify thugs when they come into the malls, I believe the police should patrol such business high crime areas regularly to help reduce crime," said one owner. "Criminals tend to be discouraged when they see police."
Other owners said they were relieved that the two women were not injured.
"We always fear for our businesses because we don't know when these thugs will strike," said another.