Patron hurt as armed robbers hit top casino

A PATRON was injured when a gang of armed men robbed a popular Limpopo casino of an undisclosed amount of cash at the weekend.

Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Motlafela Mojapelo said a gang of about 10 heavily armed men stormed the Meropa Casino near Polokwane on Saturday night.

Armed with AK-47 rifles and 9mm pistols, the balaclava-clad robbers overpowered security guards at the gate and forced their way into the casino.

"At the entrance to the casino they overpowered another group of security guards and forced their way into the office of a manager but could not access the room where the main safe was kept," he said.

Mojapelo said the robbers tried to open the safe by shooting at it but their efforts failed.

They went to the payout point where they ordered everyone to lie down on the floor.

"They emptied all the tills at the pay point and put all the money in a bag. On their way out the robbers fired a number of shots in different directions.

"A patron was shot in the chest. He sustained a serious wound and is in a critical but stable condition in an unidentified hospital in Polokwane," he said.

Mojapelo said the robbers had also tried to break open a door leading to an ATM machine but failed. The gang fled in a white Toyota bakkie and blue Toyota Conquest.

No arrests have been made and police investigations are continuing, he said.

The robbery occurred a week after seven robbers were shot and killed in Nirvana near Polokwane.

Meanwhile, four ATMs were bombed in the past two weeks in Acornhoek, Bushbuckridge, Lebowakgomo and Burgersfort.

Police said the robbers bombed a Capitec Bank ATM in Lebowakgomo last Saturday but did not find any cash.

Half an hour later another ATM was bombed in Burgersfort. The bombers fled with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Police in Limpopo said they would increase the number of officers at business premises in an effort to fight crime.