A syndicate widely known as the ‘Crowbar Gang’ targeted a business on Friday morning, this time in Crawford, Athlone. Popular eatery The Lounge in Kromboom road was broken into at 6.30am, allegedly by four men. Footage from CCTV cameras show the suspects confronting a cleaner who was mopping the floor of the restaurant at the time.
Restaurant owner Shoukat Osman said the men pulled up in the parking lot of the Kromboom Centre and approached the cleaner, wanting to buy chicken.
“He [the cleaner] then responded that the shop only opens as 3pm as it is a Friday and then referred them to Woolworths downstairs as they open at 8am,” said Osman.
According to the cleaner, the suspects were milling around in the centre and looked through the shop’s window, then left the premises, made a u-turn and came back to the restaurant.
When the cleaner moved away from the shop’s front window, they smashed it and tried to take two flat screen TV’s mounted to the wall.
After their attempt at removing the flat screens failed they opted for the next best thing, which was a laptop lying behind Osman’s office desk.
Osman said the incident has left his family distressed as this is the second attempt at his establishment. He said he does not feel safe anymore.
“We have a very good business but its unsafe when the patrons leave at night. We only have a lock up service with a security company, but they cannot always be here. I have to travel alone home at night, as my family leave before me. The police are not very visible here, and they need to jack up their service.”
Earlier this week, VOC News received reports of the crowbar gang targeting a home in Rondebosch East. The group were reportedly operating in Wetton, Ottery and Lansdowne areas.
Western Cape police spokesperson FC Van Wyk could not confirm whether this latest incident was the work of the crowbar gang, but said a case had been opened at the Lansdowne police station. VOC (Imogen Vollenhoven)