Residents living near Bright Mini Market say while cops and the army commenced with a lockdown of the area on Friday, opportunistic cops saw the gap to steal while on duty.
Store owner Mubarak Hussain, 22, has opened a criminal case after the faces of the cops believed to be behind the theft were caught on CCTV footage.
“I was on my own here and the police and the army were in the area,” the Bangladeshi national explains.
“I didn’t see the army near my shop, but the police came here and asked to see my papers (identity documents), which I did, and told me I am hiding guns.”
Hussain says officers requested that he open the gate to enter the back section of the store.
He says officers ransacked his room, but did not find any guns.
After they left, he discovered cash amounting to R22 200 that he had put in a backpack to pay his cigarette and airtime suppliers was gone.
“That is the money I must pay my creditors tomorrow [Monday] and now it’s gone,” the heartbroken young man says.
“Only they (the cops) were there and now I am stressed because I don’t know how I will pay.”
Hussain went to Bishop Lavis Police Station and reported the matter and informed cops he has CCTV footage.
Police spokesperson, Captain FC van Wyk, confirms a theft case has been opened and says: “CCTV footage will be obtained and viewed by our detectives. All relevant people will be interviewed and all statements obtained. The investigation continues.”
Ward councillor, Angus McKenzie, says he informed Community Safety MEC, Albert Fritz, of the matter and a “watching brief” has been opened.
“This means an advocate will track the progress of the case. I applaud the business owner for reporting it and I hope it is not true that they stole. Things like this break down trust.”