6 December 2001: Armed robbery at my store

At 0930 an armed robbery (video) took place at my new store at 480 Smith Street, Durban. I was held up at gunpoint and forced with my staff into a room in the back of the store. The robbers held us there and my own firearm was taken from me by one of the robbers. Then they moved to the front display area of the store, removing laptops, and placing them in various bags.

By coincidence, Director Booysen and his teenage daughter, Natalie, happened to drive to my computer store at the same time that the armed robbery was taking place. Commissioner  Pat Brown, the head of the detective units in KwaZulu Natal and later on a close friend of mine, remained in the car while Booysen and his daughter entered the store as the robbery was taking place.

Just before Booysen walked in, the robbers were tipped off about his arrival by a lookout. Once Booysen and his daughter walked in and moved towards the back room, one of the robbers pointed a gun at Booysen. Booysen tried to run away at first but then he gave up and then raised his hands and placed his daughter between the line of fire and himself! The robbers then also forced (video) Booysen and his daughter into the back room where I was being held up.

Then the robbers moved to the front display area of the store, removing laptops, and placing them in various bags, leaving the rest of us alone in the back room with the door closed. After a while, only one robber remained in my store to carry out the last bag with stolen laptops. Then Booysen pulled out his hidden police firearm, while I shouted, “Go man”!

But then Booysen froze in fear, so I grabbed his firearm from his hand and proceeded to pursue (video) the robbers. I kicked open the electric lock of the exit door and stumbled on an armed robber wrestling with a security guard by the name of Charles the armed robber was trying to shoot him with my own firearm that he had taken from me earlier during the robbery.

As the robber took aim at me I defended myself, and shot and wounded the robber, thus saving my life as well as the life of the security guard, Charles. The robber survived and received a  long sentence for armed robbery.

A surveillance video captured this incident. In the video, Booysen can be seen after the threat was overwalking slowly and fearfully behind me in order to take control of the scene.

Later on that day, Booysen got his own Serious and Violent Crime Unit members to process the crime scene and obtain my statement. The investigating officer was Jack Muller, who proceeded to obtain a statement from me about my involvement in the incident within my shop. Booysen stayed behind and dictated what I should say in my statement. At this point, there was an argument between Booysen and  Muller because I stated that I had “grabbed the firearm from the Director’s [i.e., Booysen’s] hand”. Booysen directed me to change my statement to say that “it was decided that it was better for me to get Booysen’s police firearm and run after the robbers based on a tactical move”. The investigator officer who obtained my statement [Muller] accused Booysen of interfering with a witness statement. An argument followed and Booysen used his authority and rank to bully Muller to keep quiet and follow Booysen’s instructions.


Store Armed Robbery 1

Store Armed Robbery 2