Most of the recent mall robberies in Gauteng have targeted technical gadgets, Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Lesetja Mothiba said on Tuesday.
“In 95% of robberies so far, cellphones are the target. Cash is minimal,” Mothiba told reporters in Johannesburg.
“In two incidents cash was [stolen]. Both incidents occurred in Soweto: one at Maponya mall and another at the Black Chain shopping centre in Diepkloof.”
He said ways of rendering stolen cellphones useless should be looked into. Security measures at some malls were not up to standard.
“As things stand, these criminals committed these crimes very easily.”
Mall security was a joint approach between the police and mall management.
“We would want to see mall security taking that seriously,” he said. “We have set up meetings with mall management to beef up security as well as looking at their security systems at the premises.”
Mothiba said the CCTV footage at some of the malls was of poor quality, and in some instances cameras were not switched on.
A reward of R200 000 has been offered for information leading to the arrest and successful prosecution of the criminals.
Five people possibly linked to the robberies were arrested in Brixton and Doornfontein on Tuesday for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
“During the arrest police confiscated a 9mm pistol and three semi-automatic rifles as well as 97 live rounds of ammunition,” Mothiba said.
Mothiba said police were investigating whether they were linked to two mall robberies including the one in Diepkloof, Soweto on Saturday.
Police would also investigate their links to ATM bombings, taxi violence and business robbery.
Eleven mall robberies have taken place since 13 August. — Sapa