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Suspected CBD robber shot

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When all the chaos had subsided, business owners came out of their shops and cheered, clapped and thanked the man for doing what he did

SCENE: A spot of blood and a crude stick drawing at the scene of the shooting. Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE RAMPANT crime in the Kimberley CBD yesterday resulted in a suspected robber being shot after he attempted to force open the door of a vehicle in New Main Road.

It is believed that the incident happened at around 11am, when the suspected robber tried to open the passenger door of a Hyundai Tucson in an apparent attempt to steal a cellphone.

According to a business owner in the area, who wished to remain anonymous and who witnessed the incident, the suspect tried to open the door of the vehicle and the owner then got out of the car and shot at him. “I remember hearing two shots,” the man said.

He added that when all the chaos had subsided, business owners came out of their shops and cheered, clapped and thanked the man for doing what he did.

“We are sick and tired of crime in this area. This is definitely a step in the right direction. Something like this should have happened a lot sooner,” he said.

The road was cordoned off for several hours as the police’s forensic unit dusted the vehicle for fingerprints. Once the road was reopened, a spot of blood and a crude stick drawing around it was the only evidence left of the shooting.

It is believed that the suspect was transported to hospital to be treated for his injuries.

The business owner said that they were losing business on a daily basis because of the rampant crime.

“Nobody wants to come to this area. They are scared. Much as I hate to say this, but the whites are being targeted. This is not the first incident of its kind to happen here. On an almost daily basis, car windows are being smashed or doors forcefully opened. We are really thankful and grateful for what this man has done,” he said.

He went on to say that police provide absolutely no protection to the businesses or their clients. “We never see a police vehicle in this area. Not only is crime a major issue, but this area has become a drug haven as well.”

Another business owner said that a woman who comes in from Hartswater to deliver sosaties was also robbed. “This is probably her only source of income and this is one of the last places where she stops. On her way back to her vehicle she was robbed of her day’s takings.”

Some of the other shop owners in the area pointed out that the traffic lights also made motorists a target for potential robbers. “It takes so long for them to change that it is the perfect chance for opportunistic crime.”

Another said that if the thieves could not get the doors of the vehicle open, they would hold on to it and run alongside the car to the next traffic light. “Then they will either smash the window or try to get the driver out of the vehicle.”

The business owners also placed the blame for the ongoing crime in the area on the government. “They are not doing anything to curb crime, yet we are told to vote. What is the point?”

City residents meanwhile said that they fear for their lives when they go to the CBD. “We don’t have a choice. We either have to take a taxi here as we work in the area. Many people are also forced to come here to visit the Department of Home Affairs.”

Others went on to say that besides the crime, just walking in the streets in this part of the city was like “taking your life into your own hands because of the speeding and racing that happens on a regular basis”.

“We are extremely scared but we don’t have a choice. The police need to start doing more patrols.”

According to police spokesperson Captain Tessa Jansen, the incident happened at around 11.30am yesterday morning.

She said that a 45-year-old man was sitting in his vehicle in New Main Road, waiting for his wife and children who were at Home Affairs.

“He then heard something at the back of the vehicle. When he turned around, he saw that an unknown man had ducked down at the back of the vehicle and another was busy hitting the back passenger window with an unknown iron object,” Jansen said.

She added that the man got out of his vehicle with his firearm in his hand.

“This was an attempt to stop the man from breaking his window. The unknown man ran off and when he (the vehicle owner) turned back to his vehicle, he saw that the other man had opened his car door and had his S6 Samsung cellphone in his hand. He screamed at the suspect to return his phone, while firing a warning shot in the air,” Jansen said.

She stated that after that, he shot at the suspect and wounded him in the back.

According to Jansen, a 33-year-old man was arrested and charged with theft out of a motor vehicle before he was taken to Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital for treatment.

The 45-year-old man was arrested for discharging a firearm in a municipal area as well as attempted murder. Jansen said he will appear in court tomorrow.