South Africa: Joburg Family Held Up By 'Watch Gang' Twice in Two Weeks

A family have been robbed and a female relative's luxury watch taken at gunpoint when they returned home after having dinner at a restaurant in Morningside, Sandton, on Monday night.

According to Andre Snyman of eblockwatch, this is the second time in the past two weeks that the family was involved in an armed robbery.

The family, who does not want to be named, was reportedly having lunch at the Doppio Zero restaurant at the Hobart Grove Centre on January 12 when armed men entered, ordered patrons to lie down and robbed a woman of her luxury watch and jewellery.

On its Facebook page, Doppio Zero Bryanston said that a customer was followed to the restaurant at around 14:40 and robbed of her Rolex watch and jewellery while sitting at an outside table.

"Police are currently investigating. Doppio Zero Bryanston management, along with other tenants, are in discussions with Hobart Grove Centre management with regard to centre security measures. We regret that the incident occurred and are assisting with the investigations in every way possible," the restaurant said.

Following this, the family, traumatised by this incident, undertook not to wear their watches in public anymore. But on Monday night, according to Snyman, a family member who was not present during the robbery at Doppio Zero accompanied them to dinner and wore a Cartier watch.

Follow-home robberies have increased

"After they left the restaurant and waited at the boom, a guy put a gun to her head and took her watch," Snyman said.

Snyman said the number of follow-home robberies in the area have increased based on the number of reports eblockwatch has received. He has sent News24 several videos of what appears to be follow-home robberies, but these incidents are yet to be confirmed with police.

In one such video, a couple is robbed by two men in front of a complex. According to the caption, the robbery occurred in Sixth Road in Hyde Park on Sunday at 16:58. A Rolex watch was reportedly among the items stolen, according to eblockwatch.

On January 10, two days before the incident at Doppio Zero, a man was robbed at the same shopping centre and his watch was also taken.

News24 reported the man opened fire on four armed men fleeing in a getaway vehicle after they robbed him of his wallet, watch and cellphone. The incident was captured on CCTV cameras.

The footage shows a man in a white SUV pulling into a parking bay. Shortly afterwards, a white hatchback vehicle reverses into a nearby bay.

Three of the assailants exit the vehicle and run toward the man who, by that time, was standing behind his vehicle.

The armed men then make a speedy getaway and the clip ends with the man running towards the getaway car and firing shots.

Gauteng provincial spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said at about 15:50 police responded to a complaint of an armed robbery at Hobart Grove Centre.

"It is alleged that four armed suspects accosted the victim and robbed him of his wristwatch, wallet and cellphone. [The] suspects jumped into an Opel Corsa and drove off at a high speed. The victim allegedly fired shots at the getaway car," Masondo said.

Masondo said that police have launched a manhunt for the suspects.

He could not be reached for comment on the latest two incidents. Several calls went unanswered and a WhatsApp was read but not responded to.

Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters could also not be reached for comment.

Source: News24

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