Ster-Kinekor and Baywest Mall confirm cinema robbed on Sunday night

JANUARY 11, 2016

A manager and a cashier at Ster-Kinekor Baywest Mall were robbed by a group of three armed men as they were about to secure takings from evening ticket sales on Sunday, the cinema chain and Baywest Mall confirmed on Monday.

"On January 10th just after 9pm an incident occurred at our Ster-Kinekor cinemas," said Baywest Mall GM, Sonja de Necker.

"Three armed suspects gained entry to the Ster-Kinekor management offices at the end of the shift, as a manager and a cashier were cashing up for the evening. The cashier was tied up while the manager was forced to open the office safe."

According to Ster-Kinekor, their cinema manager said that three armed suspects entered the cinema complex at around 21:20.

"They made their way to the cash office, where a manager and a cashier were busy cashing up the takings at the end of the shift. The suspects robbed them of the cash in the office. They then tied up the cashier and one of the suspects took the manager to his office, where he was forced to open his safe and was robbed of the cinema’s and his personal cell phones, and his watch.

"When they demanded that he open the other safes (including a drop safe), he explained to them that the keys for those safes are kept offsite. He was assaulted by the suspects before they took the cash and other items and left the cinema complex," Ster-Kinekor said.

"The cinema manager arrived at the complex. The mall’s security team was alerted as were the SAPS, who arrived in less than ten minutes following the robbery. The cinema manager checked all the cinemas to ensure that no customers had been affected by the incident – they were unaware that anything had happened until they saw the police tape that cordoned off the crime scene."

De Necker said that a team of police officers was given access to the CCTV footage from the cinema and the mall, and the forensics team took fingerprints.

A case of robbery and assault has been opened and the incident is currently under investigation.

"The management team at Ster-Kinekor Baywest Mall is also reviewing all aspects of security at the complex. The two staff members involved in the incident have been examined by a medical professional and will receive counselling," Ster-Kinekor said, adding; "The safety of all patrons at Ster-Kinekor cinemas is a top priority for the company and it views incidents such as this one in a very serious light. Ster-Kinekor is working closely with the centre’s security team and the SAPS with regards to this incident.

"Ster-Kinekor would like to assure its customers that the company continues to work hard across all areas of the business to ensure that every customer experiences a ‘Great Moment at its Greatest’ with each cinema visit."

De Necker added; "As we take the safety and well-being of our patrons extremely seriously, we have asked police for officer presence during peak times at the mall (during weekends and holidays). This is in addition to our mall security team which, outside the mall, consists of guards on foot, as well as two bicycle patrols and one quad bike patrol."

She said that there are over 280 CCTV cameras installed throughout Baywest Mall, with on-site security foot and vehicle patrols, as well as a team of on-site security personnel, who are in constant communication with the police, to ensure the safety of our tenants and shoppers. 

To date, there have been several crime incidents reported at Baywest Mall, which opened doors on 21 May last year, as the Eastern Cape's biggest shopping mall.

In October, a couple was robbed at knife-point of their ice skates at the Mall's parking lot after visiting the Baywest Ice Rink. The incident was apparently caught on CCTV cameras.

There have also been reported incidents of shoppers losing their vehicles to car thieves at the Mall.

Just eight days after the Mall opened, five robbers wearing balaclavas, one of them armed, accessed the offices of Interpark, the company which manages the mall’s parking, and made away with a small amount of money.