A Khayelitsha spaza shop owner is reeling in shock after his business was allegedly robbed by men who claimed to be police officers on Thursday evening, June 23.
Two of the men were in police uniform, while the other two wore civilian clothes.
Obinna Eboh, who runs his shop in Ilitha Park, has accused the police officers of stealing R1 500 stock money, two cellphones, airtime and his cash takings for the day.
He claimed the officers also assaulted him on Baden Powell Drive, between Monwabisi and Mnandi beaches.
Explaining what happened on Thursday night, he said the “officers” arrived at his business shortly before 8pm, and demanded to search the shop. When he requested a search warrant, he said, the “officers” allegedly told him they did not need one as there had been allegations that drug dealing was taking place at the shop.
Mr Eboh said one “officer” approached him, but when he refused to co-operate three more arrived.
He said they informed him that they came from Bellville South.
“They came with a crowbar,” he said.
In a quest to protect his assets, Mr Eboh said he decided to open the shop and allow the men to search. He said the “officers” went into his room, which he claims they turned upside down.
It was when they wanted to search his wardrobe that he decided to intervene. He wanted to protect his stock money, which was in a jacket pocket.
“The next thing they took the jacket,” said Mr Eboh.
After taking a few things, including airtime, they then took him to their double cab vehicle and drove away with him, leaving his landlord, Mavis Ndevu, and her family in shock.
“I did not believe they were police,” said Ms Ndevu.
She said their conduct and the manner in which they carried out the raid, left them with more questions than answers.
“Once he opened for them, they locked themselves with him inside the shop. We could not see what was happening. We just kept our eyes on the door,” she said.
After a while, she said, they came out with him and went into their car. “I asked him to leave his cellphones and the jacket, but they refused,” said Ms Ndevu.
“They never produced anything to show that they were police.”
In panic and shock, Ms Ndevu said she phoned Lingelethu police to inform them about the incident. She said the police came and took statements and fingerprints, and promised to investigate the matter. They also took a statement from Mr Eboh, who said he was picked up by another vehicle after he had been dumped by the “officers” who had robbed him.
Mr Eboh, who opened his business in November last year, said he was rattled by the whole experience.
“They instructed me to go with them to the police station,” he said. “But they dumped me by the beach. If what they were doing was legal, why didn’t they take me to the station?”
Mr Eboh said he was disappointed with the police and would like the matter to be fully investigated. “If I can’t trust the police who else can I trust?” he asked. “I am very disappointed. I did not think police would do that kind of a thing.”
Talking about his next move, Mr Eboh said he was not sure how he would continue with his business. “I am now stuck and do not know what to do,” he said.
His final hope lies with Lingelethu police, he said.
However, when Vukani contacted him on Monday June 27, he had received no feedback from them.
When Vukani contacted the police for comment on Tuesday June 28, Lingelethu police said a detective had been assigned to the case and they were investigating a case of business robbery. They, however, refused to elaborate on the details of their investigation.