The boy‚ the letter and the bullet - chilling missive warns of bomb

10 July 2018 - 13:19
By Jeff Wicks
A black plastic bag was found by the bomb squad in this Wentworth Spar following a bomb threat on July 9, 2018.
Image: Jeff Wicks A black plastic bag was found by the bomb squad in this Wentworth Spar following a bomb threat on July 9, 2018.

The people who planted a suspicious device inside the Spar in Durban’s Wentworth suburb had demanded a ransom – and used a 10-year-old boy to deliver a chilling message that there was a bomb hidden somewhere in the busy shop.

Well-placed police sources‚ who spoke to TimesLIVE on condition of anonymity‚ said that the boy had been sent to the Spar by persons unknown.

The child had given the manager on duty a brown envelope containing a bullet and a handwritten letter with instructions to place money in a bag and leave it outside the shop and not to call the police. If the manager failed to do this‚ the letter said‚ the bomb set inside the store would explode.

It is understood that the store manager had taken the boy and the letter to the Wentworth police station‚ prompting a reaction from police who descended on the shop and cleared it of customers.

The police’s explosives unit was then called in and during a sweep of the shop‚ guided by the keen nose of a search dog‚ found a black plastic bag near the tills at the entrance of the spar.

The parcel was destroyed by the Unit in a controlled detonation‚ sending shockwaves through the neighbouring homes.

Police spokesman Brigadier Vish Naidoo said that the explosives unit was called to the scene to examine a suspicious device‚ but that it proved to be “negative”.

He issued the following warning: “We view these threats in a serious light and people caught can be criminally prosecuted.”

He called on anyone with information on the improvised devices‚ or anyone who had information on future events‚ to contact the police on 0860010111.

The device would be the sixth after a series of devices were discovered at shopping malls and parked cars in the past five days.

At the weekend‚ two devices planted beneath parked cars on the fringes of the Durban July were triggered‚ causing minor fires.

On Thursday last week two similar devices‚ one planted in the Gateway outlet and the other in the Pavilion‚ were detonated‚ causing fires.

The Gateway outlet was evacuated again on Saturday when a pipe bomb was found and later defused by bomb technicians.