Businesses that were targeted by the notorious ‘Crowbar Gang’ months ago believe that not even the arrests of four of its members will make it safe for them to trade. The Athlone business district bore the brunt of brazen attacks by the infamous syndicate just weeks apart.
The chairperson of the Athlone chamber of commerce, Abdul Basier Dramat said the four arrests do not mean anything until it has been established that these suspects are responsible for the attacks and then prosecuted.
SAPS spokesperson Lt. Andre Traut said police made a breakthrough in an undercover operation, when they arrested four men at a policeman’s official residence on the base at Kleinvlei police station. The four suspects are alleged to have used a crowbar to break in suburban homes.
Dramat said that it is difficult for owners to trade as there will always be contistant fear of being held up at gun point.
Of those who were attacked a few months ago were Elite Cash and Carry, MA Distributors, Jimmy’s Motorspares and The Lounge on Kromboom.
Two of the business owners refused to discuss the issue but stated that the arrests will prove fruitless until the issue of crime has been addressed in South Africa.
Elite Cash and Carry spokesperson Liakat Sonday says the arrests bring some relief but added that they remained on high alert.
Shoukat Osman, the owner of the Lounge on Kromboom, said spate of crime has decreased, not only around the business area but also in the surrounds.
But Osman stressed that it only means that the group could be lying low as a result of the arrest and believes that as the festive season approaches, so will the criminal attacks on businesses.
Recently, a bomb was detonated at the Kromboom shopping complex damaging three shops, however the incident seems to be unrelated to the ‘Crowbar Gang’. VOC (Imogen Vollenhoven)