Shoppers run for cover at mall


Employees and shoppers at Carlswald shopping centre in Midrand were yesterday forced to run for cover when an attempted robbery at one of the mall’s shops turned into a shoot-out with police officers.

One man was wounded and three others arrested in the shoot-out after the police were tipped off about the planned robbery.

Police spokesperson Kay Makhubela said the suspects robbed a cellphone shop of an undisclosed amount of money just before 11 am.

When police arrive the exchange of gunfire forced some shoppers to hide under their cars and inside shops.

“The police gave chase. There was continuous shooting. One suspect was shot and is now in hospital, three others were arrested. Police are still searching for four other robbers,” Makhubela said.

Two firearms and a hijacked vehicle were recovered.

The vehicle was hijacked by a woman in the mall as the robbers tried to escape. The car was later recovered on Old Pretoria Main Road, near New Road, where the men were cornered by police in pursuit.

A man at the scene said that he was hit by a stray bullet.

Eyewitness said there were about eight robbers and one of them was seen walking around suspiciously near the shop earlier. When a security guard approached him he pointed a firearm at the guard.

A witness who did not want to be identified said the robbers had come to the mall in a Quantum taxi.

“We will open a case of attempted business robbery and possession of illegal firearms. The suspects were found with illegal firearms,” Makhubele said.

Meanwhile, a 28-year-old woman was arrested yesterday for allegedly hijacking a property in Cleveland, east of Johannesburg.

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said he was pleased that in less than a week three “property hijackers” were arrested.

The arrest followed a sting operation led by the city’s group forensic and investigation Service (GFIS), as well as the SAPS and the Johannesburg metropolitan police department (JMPD).

It is alleged the suspect hijacked the property in February last year and collected monthly rental of R15000. The total amount collected by the suspect from February 2016 till the end of October 2017 is said to be in the region of R300000.

The rightful owner of the property further incurred legal fees totalling R150000 while trying to obtain an eviction order.

Immediately after the rightful owner bought the property in February 2016, the suspect, who was then living on the property, approached the rest of the tenants and instructed them to pay monthly rentals to her.

She informed the other tenants that the new owner had transferred the property to her. She then partitioned the property to have extra rooms for the tenants.

“The rightful owner reported the matter to the Cleveland police station last month. An investigation into the matter was done by the SAPS and GFIS,” the mayor said.