'I thought I was going to die in mall robbery'

THE brazen robbery in Dalview, Brakpan, on Tuesday night could have been an inside job.

Yesterday, Sowetan witnessed police arresting a Spar employee at the VC Spar shopping centre in Ekurhuleni.

Two policemen arrived at the centre in two unmarked cars and entered the supermarket at about 11am. A few minutes later they came out with a hand-cuffed man. Constable Tsietsi Lamola said he could not confirm the employee's arrest.

Supermarket owner Kobus van der Merwe was aware of the arrest but did not know what it was in connection with.

There was drama at the centre on Tuesday night when a gang of 20 heavily armed men divided themselves into five groups and robbed Spar supermarket, Yuppies Pizzeria and Grillhouse, Angelo's Supermarket, Liquor City and Hollywood Nites video shop.

The men, in a minibus and two sedans, fled with an undisclosed amount of money.

Police had allegedly set up an ambush for the thugs near the Gosforth Plaza on the N17, but Lamola said "the robbers must have been alerted because they made a U-turn on the highway into oncoming traffic".

"They shot and killed Leonard Mathee, 36, during an attempted hijacking. He was driving a Nissan Navara."

A shootout between police and the suspects ensued. He said one of the robbers was injured and three were arrested.

Thoko Dludlu, an employee at Yuppies Pizzeria and Grillhouse, was still traumatised by the experience yesterday.

"Six of them entered the restaurant. They were shouting 'voetsek, we want money. Where is the money'? They threatened to kill our boss, ordered him to to open the till and cleaned it out. I thought I was going to die," she said.