THERE’S a new robbery weapon being used in town and its available at your corner store.
Wily robbers this week used curry powder wrapped in a handkerchief to rob a stokvel member of R140 300 in Pietermaritzburg’s CBD.
Police said Jabulani Mdlalose (56), accompanied by a woman and a man on crutches, had withdrawn the stokvel’s savings from a bank on Monday and was walking in Church Street when two men approached them.
One man placed the hanky on Mdlalose’s face and forced him to the ground, grabbing the plastic bag containing the money and fleeing in a Fiat Uno, said police spokesperson Thulani Zwane.
Police close to the investigation told The Witness that Mdlalose said the hanky contained what he believed was curry powder and that the robbers had tried to smother him with it. He was not injured.
Zwane also warned others involved in stokvels to be cautious as the end of the year approaches and clubs distribute contributions to their members.
“This is normally large sums of money that are distributed as cash pay-outs. We are urging these clubs to transfer these funds electronically to their members’ accounts,” said Zwane.
He added that in previous years the police had received complaints of stokvel club members being robbed of their cash after they had made withdrawals from the banks.
“It is very evident that people are robbed by individuals that are close to them who are aware that they will be receiving such a pay-out. During this past weekend we have already had two people who claimed they were robbed of their stokvel money at their homes,” said Zwane.
Zwane also urged employers to transfer their staff bonuses and salaries into their accounts during December, as carrying large sums of money will expose them to criminals.
Mdlalose did not want to comment when approached by The Witness.