Four men wielding AK-47s robbed a jewellery store in the busy Phoenix Plaza Mall, south of central Durban, on Thursday, and escaped following a shootout with police.
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said the store was robbed around 09:35, when the men broke into premises and fired a shot.
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"They took two bags of jewellery. The police officers responded and there was a shootout. The suspects fled the scene in their getaway vehicle which was later found abandoned in the Inanda area."
A case of robbery had been opened for investigation at Phoenix SAPS.
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Reaction Unit SA head Prem Balram said the men fled in a black Mercedes-Benz which was later recovered in the Bambhayi informal settlement by police.
"Reaction officers and police are currently searching for the heavily armed suspects."