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Stokvel cash taken at gunpoint

Free State police have launched a manhunt for unknown men who robbed a 53-year-old woman at gunpoint of an undisclosed amount of cash which belonged to members of a savings club, also known as a stokvel.

Lejweleputswa district police spokesperson Captain Stephen Thakeng says the incident happened at about 18:30 on Tuesday while the woman, who is the treasurer of the savings club, was sitting with her friends in the car garage at her home in Winburg.

He said the Sesotho-speaking robbers also took two cellphones and a safe.

“Three unknown . . . men entered (the yard) and one of them who had a firearm called her name,” said Thakeng in a statement.

“The owner of the house responded . . . and they demanded the society money and she responded that she did not have cash.

“She was forced inside the house at gunpoint and told to lie on the floor and she told them where the cash was.”

The brazen thieves, who did not cover their faces, then took the safe as well as a Nokia and Samsung cellphone.

The suspects fled from the scene on foot.

“She ran to her neighbours and requested them to call the SAPS members, who responded instantly and started the manhunt for the armed robbers,” according to Thakeng.

A case of house robbery was registered for further investigation.

Thakeng warned those handling stokvel funds and other members of society not to keep large sums of money at home.

“Residents are sternly warned not to keep (savings) society money in their homes to avoid these armed robberies, as it is suspected to be an inside job . . . because in this incident the armed robbers knew the name of the treasurer,” he pointed out.

Anyone with information that could lead to the arrests of the robbers may contact Detective Warrant Officer Sanet Smit of Winburg Detective Services on 082 466 7678 or police emergency number: 08600 10111. – Staff Reporter

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