The savvy thieves made several trips to liberate R300,000 worth of stock in this glorious heist.

The savvy thieves made several trips to liberate R300,000 worth of stock in this glorious heist.

A Shoprite Liquorshop in Newtown Junction, Johannesburg, has been robbed in bizarre fashion by thieves who tunnelled through a solid concrete floor to gain access. The incident took place during South Africa’s hard level 4 and 5 lockdown period, during which the sale of alcohol was strictly prohibited.

The manager of the Shoprite discovered the theft – and a large hole in the ground – when she entered the store on Friday 29 May 2020. She was returning to prepare for the store’s reopening under the easing level 3 lockdown conditions on 1 June.

With alcohol in high demand during the lockdown period, the store was secured from the outside throughout. However, the suspects avoided the mall’s main entrance and instead used electrical and stormwater tunnels beneath the shopping centre to gain access to an area beneath the store. 

They then tunnelled through the solid concrete floor directly into the liquor shop to gain access undetected.

It is unclear how the thieves knew where to tunnel, nor how long it took them to get through the thick concrete floor, but they returned a few times to steal a large amount of stock.

According to Oswald Meiring, the Shoprite Group’s Loss Control Manager, the suspects were first recorded on CCTV cameras on 21 May – just 10 days before liquor sales were allowed.

Footage from inside the store shows three suspects, although more may have remained in the tunnel to help move the large quantity of liquor stolen. 

Meiring says the thieves made off with whiskey, brandy, gin, cider, vodka, and beer to an estimated value of R300,000.

A R50,000 reward, subject to terms and conditions, has been made available for information which leads to a successful arrest. People with information can call 0800 118 879 or email service@asesa.co.za