Durban – Patrons at the Galleria shopping mall had to duck for cover on Tuesday morning when a group of heavily armed men robbed a jewellery shop on Tuesday morning.
A witness who spoke to The Mercury said she had been in the mall at the time when she heard loud banging.
"You could hear the men smashing through the glass counters at the jewellery store as they helped themselves to jewellery. When I looked up, I saw a man standing at the entrance of the store with a gun. It happened so quickly. The men grabbed what they could and ran out of the store. A security guard said there were at least six armed men," the woman said.
Police confirmed that the suspects fled the scene in a getaway vehicle that was waiting outside the mall.
"Police officers were alerted and various units within the SAPS as well as other security agencies responded. The vehicle used by the suspects was spotted on the N2 freeway traveling towards Umlazi.
"During the chase, the suspects abandoned their vehicle at U Section in Umlazi and fled on foot into the bushes. During an exchange of gunfire a suspect was arrested with the assistance of a canine. A second suspect was also arrested in the bushes whilst attempting to flee," said police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker.
He said two men, aged 30 and 40, were arrested at the scene.
"Some of the stolen items were recovered and the vehicle used by the men was impounded by police for further investigation," he said.
Naicker said a case of business robbery was being investigated by the Amanzimtoti SAPS.
"The arrested suspects will be profiled to establish if they are linked to other robberies committed in the province. Both men are expected to appear in court soon," he said.
Galleria management confirmed that the robbery took place at NWJ.
Galleria general manager, Kurt Hoggan said: "Due to the quick response from various authorities suspects have been apprehended and the vehicle recovered. We continue to work closely with the SAPS, security companies and community groups to collectively act against crime.”
In a separate attack in Tongaat, north of the city, three armed men entered a local business and assaulted an employee.
According to SAPS spokesperson, Captain Nqobile Gwala, the employee was hit with a firearm and the gang took an undisclosed amount of cash and fired a shot whilst inside the premises before fleeing the scene on foot. The matter is still under investigation.
Last week, a group of men robbed Shah jewellers at the Atrium shopping centre in Berea.