Two robbers traumatise staff, escape
Terrified workers at the Westville Office Park in Durban were locked inside their offices for several hours yesterday when two armed men entered a heavily secured building and robbed Bellar Salon of an undisclosed amount of money.
According to an eye witness, the drama began shortly after 8am when two armed men in khaki uniform, entered the building and held staff at gunpoint.
They then grabbed the cash and made their way to other offices in the building.
One worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said they locked themselves inside for fear of being attacked.
"We just started operating when two armed men, entered the salon, pointing guns at us before making their way up the stairs to other offices and vanished," she said.
Sowetan yesterday morning found police had cordoned off the area and were still searching for the suspects.
One police officer, who declined to give his name, said counsellors were called in to attend to traumatised staff.
He said it was clear that the robbery was an "inside job". "It was well planned because the area is so secured that you have to buzz for someone to open."
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman Superintendent Vincent Mdunge confirmed the incident. He said the men had pointed firearms at the petrified staff before disappearing with an undisclosed sum.
Mdunge said the number of police officers will be increased at shopping centres during the festive season.
"We expect more of such attacks during the festive period as this happens every year."
Yesterday's incident happened just a few metres away from Pavilion Shopping Centre, where a shootout broke out between gangsters and the police, following a robbery at a jewellery store last week.
The robbers made off with 31 Rolex watches worth R1,5million.
Meanwhile, Pavilion Shopping Centre management said they would randomly scan and search all shoppers during the festive season.
Preston Gaddy, a management official, said: "Given the crime situation, we will be forced to use scanners for security reasons."