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Cape Town – Kalk Bay restaurant manager George Mandalios believed he would be killed by the gang of gunmen holding him and the staff at gunpoint before running away with about 200,000 rand on Monday.
Mandalios, 73, told the Cape Times how he feared for his life when suspects stormed the business and tied him up before fleeing with money and belongings.
A traffic cop near the scene was shot and wounded.
The suspects were arrested moments later after a high-speed car chase.
Mandalios – also known as “Mr. Kalky” – said the suspects entered through the back door.
“It was like they were watching us and waiting for the perfect opportunity. At around 8:15 am we all walked into the store to start the day and one of the employees had to use the back door to go and clean the drain. It was then that four armed men entered and ordered everyone to lie down on the floor.
“For a second, I thought they were going to kill me because I was the only person they had tied up. Luckily they didn’t hurt me or the staff. When they got what they wanted and ran away, the staff untied me.
“A friend of mine who is a traffic cop noticed something was wrong and took a picture of the suspect Hyundai Getz before he was hit in the arm. The thieves forgot to remove the CCTV footage during their act and I hope this will help the police in their investigations, ”he said.
Mandalios said Monday’s robbery was the fourth attack on the 25-year-old restaurant this year.
On August 18 thieves fled with R35000 and removed the CCTV camera.
Police spokesman Noloyiso Rwexana said one suspect was still at large while three others, aged 30 to 35, were arrested and charged with attempted murder, theft from a business and possession of a hijacked vehicle.
“Law enforcement and SAPS members attached to Muizenberg responded and pursued the vehicle. They arrested three suspects and recovered a gun, and it was established that the vehicle had been reported as hijacked at Manenberg. ”Rwexana said.
The officer is being treated at the hospital.
Mayco Safety and Security member JP Smith said: “The quick-wittedness of the city law enforcement personnel involved in this incident has been critical in locating the suspects, who are now behind bars and likely to face a slew of charges.
“I congratulate the staff for their actions and also wish a speedy recovery to the officer who was injured. The City will provide the necessary support services, including advice. “
Meanwhile, an off-duty officer shot dead a suspected hijacker in Sheffield Road, Philippi East, on Sunday evening.
Police spokesman Siyabulela Malo said the Independent Police Investigation Directorate (Ipid) was investigating.
Ipid spokesman Sontaga Seisa said: “We are investigating a death following police action. An off-duty officer discharged his firearm and fatally injured an adult male in an alleged hijacking. Further details on this will be provided.