WATCH | Robbery by appointment — criminals called ahead and were caught in sting operation
Business owners in Johannesburg's Roosevelt Park have recently been hit by a strange trend: robbers make an appointment before showing up with guns
It wasn’t the first time a business in Roosevelt Park in Johannesburg was robbed by appointment, but hopefully Monday's attempted heist will be the last.
Police pounced on two suspects in a sting operation set up after business owners and security companies in the area noticed a strange trend.
A group of men was robbing local businesses after setting up appointments with the owners.
The appointments seemed to provide an opportunity for the criminals to scout security systems.
“They phoned me this morning to confirm the appointment for 11 o'clock and I said yes, we are still on,” said Rubicon Trust director and business owner Andre du Toit.
Du Toit said his secretary first noticed something odd about the prospective clients when they inquired about a will.
Taking precautions, Rubicon Trust alerted its private security company to be on standby on the day of the appointment.
Police officers had also been tracking the vehicle in question for some time before they received a tip-off of another potential appointment burglary.
Staff at Rubicon Trust were held at gunpoint, while others locked their offices and hid under their desks.
“I thought I was going to die,” said the company's secretary Alinda Pretorius.
The police chased the two suspects driving a VW Polo down Beyers Naudé Drive, where the suspects collided with another car in oncoming traffic.
“It was unreal. When I saw these cars coming, I thought it was a blue light brigade, but it wasn't — it was the police chasing this guy,” said Lawrence Mannering as he explained the damage to his car.
The suspects were shot at and one was injured in the leg, while the other was arrested.
Forensic investigators arrived on the scene shortly after the incident. TimesLIVE understands that other businesses in the area have been robbed in a similar way. Community WhatsApp group posts had warned businesses to be on the lookout for the criminals.
The suspects are expected to appear in court on Wednesday.