Seven men entered the iconic little corner café in Phalaborwa on Tuesday morning at just after 07:00 demanding the cash register be opened. They were reportedly armed with firearms and other weapons. Their faces were, for the most part hidden behind the obligatory covid-19 cloth masks. Andrew Dee, the owner of the café said that at the time of the robbery there were around three patrons and seven staff members inside the shop.
“They took cigarettes and whatever floats we had lying around in the tills. Some guys’ faces were hidden, some had guns and others had weapons, I think. They came in and were in here for about 10 minutes before they left, fortunately they could not close the burglar doors and that meant someone had to stand guard and watch the door,” said Dee.
“They just demanded money and we gave them the floats in the till as it was still morning and not busy yet. The crime rate in our town is alarming and I feel it is going unpunished, I am not talking about my shop in this instance but I am talking in general that crime is going unpunished. The robbers managed to take my employees’ phones before fleeing the shop.”
Dee also said that it appeared as though criminals are no longer fearful of being caught as some of the guys in the gang that robbed his store, were not even wearing masks despite the cctv system being very visible.
One of the kitchen staff told Bulletin that she was in the back of the store busy with daily preparation when the gang entered the shop. “At first I did not notice that he was a robber because I asked him where he was going as people were not allowed at the back and that is when he produced a firearm and told me to get out and join the others,” she said.
“We were made to all sit down and they demanded our cellphones. At the time when this was happening, I was not terrified but now that they are all gone, I am in so much pain. I am really frightened, and I get scared whenever a man walks into the shop because I do not know if it could be those guys and are here to finish what they started.”
The owner also mentioned that a few days prior the robbery they felt like they were being monitored as there were a few suspicious vehicles in their parking lot. “We observed a lot of meetings in the parking lot last week. There were cars with no number plates and were meeting under the tree outside every day,” he recalled.
At the time of going to print it was not certain whether any arrests were made.