A "family" of thieves seemingly worked together to steal an unsuspecting woman's handbag from a restaurant over the weekend. Watch.
The incident happened at roughly 15:20 on Saturday, December 8, at the Spur at the Tygervalley Centre in Bellville.
Louis Fourie posted CCTV footage of the incident on social media over the weekend and the clip has been viewed and shared more than 300 000 times. His wife, 47, who asked not to be named, said she felt very disheartened by the incident.
"I feel disheartened but, more than that, I feel quite powerless, angry and sad. It happened at such a horrible time of the year.
"The fact that children are being trained to do this, is horrible," Fourie said.
The footage shows a "family" of three - presumably a mother, father and child - seated at the booth behind Fourie and her children.
The young child then shuffles toward the window and reaches behind her. She slides the handbag, which was on the ground between Fourie's foot and the glass railing, towards her.
The child passes the handbag to the woman at her table. A second woman then enters the Spur and collects the handbag.
She departs and the family gets up and leave shortly after.
"I had my bag on the seat next to me and thought to myself, I had better move it as it's so easy to grab," Fourie said.
She then moved her bag to the ground. Although she normally hooks her foot through the strap of her handbag, Fourie says: "I really didn't think anyone could take it." She only realised her bag was gone when she wanted to settle the bill.
Fourie and her children frantically searched the mall for her bag.
"We walked up and down to the exits, to the bathrooms, looked in the trash cans," but to no avail.
Mall security later told Fourie that the alleged perpetrators had left the mall in a blue Toyota Avanza.
"We would have had a wonderful day of shopping ahead of us, if not for this incident," she said. "Some of us work for our money and others just take it."
The perpetrators made off with a phone, a substantial amount of cash and shopping vouchers.
"My daughter had been saving her vouchers since her birthday in August."
The 14-year old's purse, with roughly R1 700 in hard-earned savings, was also in Fourie's handbag, as well as her Christmas present. Fourie also had additional money in her purse.
"Her heart is very sore. She didn't want to stop looking for them," Fourie said, adding that she wasn't in a position at the moment to replace all of the cash and vouchers her daughter had lost.
Apart from these losses, the family will also have to replace their vehicle's keyless entry system, which could cost between R20 000 and R30 000.
"I have received a quote of R20 000," Fourie said. She is not certain at this stage whether or not her insurance will cover the cost. Police attended the scene Saturday and a case was opened at the Bellville police station.