The second-hand goods company’s CEO Sean Stegmann says that the technology, known as the “smokecloak” was installed following a spate of robberies three years ago, when their stores were hit almost every month.
Armed men attacked a Cash Crusaders outlet in the Cape Town city centre on Wednesday.
Two men stormed the shop in Strand Street, but employees set off the “smoke cloak”, alerting police and scaring off the robbers who fled with only a cellphone.
Stegmann says it cost them more than R50 million to install the device at their stores but it has saved the day this week “and at other times as well”.
Eyewitnesses say smoke billowed from the store and soon after cops with sirens blaring arrived at the scene.
A special police task force was also called in because it was thought the robbers were holding staff hostage.
Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana says the two suspects are still at large.
On Tuesday, two shoppers were shot and injured after three skelms targeted Cash Crusaders at the KCT Mall in Khayelitsha.
One suspect, 25, was caught and arrested.