Shoplifting Amid the Mayhem

 

It was more like a bad movie than real life at the Pavillion Shopping Centre yesterday when gunmen clashed with a lone brave police officer.

 

Hours later The Daily News was told that a hostage-taking drama was unfolding at the same mall.

 

When we arrived at the centre it was crawling with uniformed and plain-clothed policemen.

 

Many of the shops were still closed at 11am.

 

The crime scene was secured with yellow and black tape, and police cordoned off a section outside Edgars near the information desk as a temporary “command centre”.

 

Rumours were spreading like wild fire. Among them was that the robbers had sought refuge in Woolworths and the staff were being held hostage. Others included that there had been a robbery at Mr. Price, and also at Arthur Kaplan Jewellers at Gateaway Shopping Centre and uShaka Marine World.

 

When the dust of confusion settled, police and centre management denied all the claims and blamed them on “rumour-mongering”.

 

Sighing with relief, we headed for the centre’s exit, believing the drama to be over. It was then that chaos erupted as screaming customers and off-duty staff hurled past us to the exits. Plain-clothed, gun-wielding police officers ran around, darting here and there, while I stood against a pillar, unsure of what was happening.

 

The centre went on an immediate lock down with shops closing doors all around us.

 

A horde of police and security swooped the area, chasing and apprehending a man who turned out to be a shoplifter.

 

As one shopper quipped: “He’s picked a very bad day to pinch a CD.” T. Martens-Daily News

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