Three men were arrested in Tembisa, north east of Johannesburg, on Friday in connection with the recent spate of mall robberies in Gauteng, the Hawks said. “We arrested three foreign nationals in Tembisa this afternoon,” spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko said. “We are continuing the investigation.”
Ramaloko said it was hoped more arrests could be made as the Hawks continued their investigation.
No court date has yet been set.
On Tuesday, Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Lesetja Mothiba said malls in the province had been robbed 11 times in the past month. “Gauteng is the worst affected province,” Mothiba told reporters in Johannesburg.
He said there had been isolated incidents in other provinces, but that Gauteng malls had been robbed 11 times since 13 August.
On Monday night, a robbery took place at an Altech Autopage cellphone store at the Glen shopping centre in Oakdene, Johannesburg. Three armed robbers stole 15 cellphones worth R34 000.
The Samsung, iStore, and Vodacom shops in the mall have all been robbed since November last year.
On Saturday, a G4S security guard was shot dead when four men robbed him and his colleagues of cash they had collected from the Diepkloof Black Chain shopping centre in Soweto.
A Samsung shop was robbed at the Cradlestone Mall in Krugersdorp, on the West Rand, on Friday.
“The robbers made off with cellphones and tablets worth hundreds of thousands of rand,” Mothiba said.
On Thursday, a Timberland clothing store at the World Wear shopping centre in Fairland, Johannesburg, was robbed. Eight men took all the clothing in the shop and an undisclosed amount of money.
On Wednesday, the Telkom Connect shop in the Eastgate shopping centre was robbed of cellphones and an undisclosed amount of cash.
A cellphone store in the Northgate Mall was robbed last Tuesday. A Telkom Direct store at the Kolonnade shopping centre in Pretoria, was robbed on the same day. “This is the second robbery at the [Kolonnade] store in almost two weeks,” Mothiba said.
Last Monday, a cashbox was stolen from two security guards at a Pick n Pay paypoint in the Maponya Mall, in Soweto.
Apple iStores were robbed on 13, 14 and 15 August at the Cresta shopping centre, The Glen and Centurion malls respectively.
Mothiba said 12 malls had been identified as high risk. Police visibility would be increased, with the deployment of Nyala armoured vehicles.
The modus operandi of the robbers was to enter shops posing as customers.
Mothiba said police suspected all the robberies may have been inside jobs, which was worrying.
He urged employers to look into their employees’ integrity because it made the police and shop owners’ jobs difficult. — Sapa