Date:18 March 2005 - By: Linda van der Westhuizen
MAKHADO (LOUIS TRICHARDT) – Armed robbers entered the local Coca-Cola Fortune depot’s Sales Centre on Friday, March 11, and fled on foot with R500 000 in cash.
With seeming ease, two robbers gained entrance into the Coca-Cola Fortune building in Rissik Street at 20:34. One was allegedly armed with a 9mm-pistol. Eight unsuspecting employees were working on their shift. Suddenly, two robbers surprised them by appearing and demanding the keys to the safe. The firearm was allegedly held to the head of the one employee and another employee was apparently knocked down and trampled upon. He sustained injuries to his face.
The employees were escorted to the office where the safe is kept. The safe was opened and the amount of half a million rand was stolen. The two robbers fled with the cash after having fired two shots outside.
According to local police, an “inside job” is suspected. Of the eight employees on duty, three were security officers. One employee, a cashier, was arrested for questioning and detained at the local police station, but was released on Monday. The investigation continues, while the suspects are still at large.
None of Coca-Cola Fortune’s local personnel was willing to comment on how the robbers gained entry to the building, as they were prohibited from talking to the media. The police, however, speculated that the criminals might have pretended to require assistance.
Coca-Cola Fortune issued a press release to confirm that an armed robbery took place at the Louis Trichardt/Makhado Sales Centre.
“This was of a serious nature, as shots were fired, but most fortunately, no employee was seriously injured,” says Coca-Cola Fortune.
The management of Coca-Cola Fortune are working closely with the local police to solve the case and any member of the public who may have relevant information is encouraged to support the police in this regard. From Coca-Cola Fortune’s side, all enquiries relating to the incident should be directed to Mr Cornelis Struik, Regional Financial Manager: Northern Region, in Polokwane.
The importance of public cooperation is also emphasized by Inspector Daniel Ndlovhu, local spokesperson for the police.
“We urge members of the community to give whatever information they have to the police,” Ndlovhu said.
Persons with information can phone D/Insp Manganyi at Tel 073 644 2983.
Linda van der Westhuizen has been with Zoutnet since 2001. She has a heart for God, people and their stories. Linda believes that every person is unique and has a special story to tell. It follows logically that human interest stories is her speciality. Linda finds working with people and their leaders in the economic, educational, spiritual and political arena very rewarding. “I have a special interest in what God is doing in our town, province and nation and what He wants us to become,” says Linda.