KELVIN MBEWE, Lusaka
BUSINESS at Levy Business Park in Lusaka came to a standstill for several hours yesterday after burglars attempted to steal
from Mud Boutique around 23:00 hours on Saturday.
But in a movie-like anti-crime response, a combined team of ordinary and crack squad police officers thwarted the attempted robbery.
Thanks to technology an alarm in the boutique alerted the owner of the shop via a mobile phone that “someone had entered the shop”.
The daring burglars attempted their robbery at the mall which is a stone’s throw away from Lusaka Central Police Station.
For nearly 15 hours, a team of the no-nonsense police unit, popularly known as C5, and mall security guards frantically searched the premises in pursuit of the suspected robbers who were believed to be hiding in the ceiling board of the building.
Business was brought to a standstill and the mall was only opened to the public after 10:00 hours but there was still a heavy presence of armed police officers.
One of the suspected robbers who appeared to be in his early 30s was caught on closed-circuit television (CCTV) descending from the ceiling board into Mud Boutique wearing a blue work suit.
According to one of the security guards at the premises, the owner of Mud Boutique was alerted about the burglary around 23:00 hours on Saturday night by the alarm which indicated that someone had broken into the boutique.
“The owner came around 23:00 hours because he has the alarm system and CCTV connected to his phone. When he arrived, he asked the guards if they had seen the person who entered his shop and the guards said they didn’t. It was at this point that the matter was quickly reported to Central Police Station and the officers came,” he said.
The guard, who sought anonymity, said police opened the shop and saw one of the burglars in the shop and shot at him but missed.
“The burglar rushed back into the ceiling, the gunshots hit into the water pipes and this caused a serious leaking of water. From 24:00 hours up to today 10:00 hours, they have been searching for them (thieves) but they haven’t found them. They only found a bag and some shoes which they were trying to steal,” he said.
In the process of searching for the thugs, two security guards fell from the ceiling board and sustained minor injuries and were rushed to hospital.
A plan by the police to tear-gas the ceiling board was abandoned because the shopping mall management feared this would affect business.
The owners of Mud Boutique refused to comment on the matter.
And Lusaka Province commissioner of police Nelson Phiri said by 15:00 hours the suspects were believed to have escaped through one of the doors at the rooftop.
Mr Phiri said police officers would still be stationed at the shopping mall in case of any unforeseen eventualities.