A dramatic chase on foot across a mall parking lot ended with a suspected thief being shot dead as he tried to leap into a getaway car in Polokwane.
Video footage of the incident on Monday morning at Cycad Mall in Limpopo showed a man in bright trousers sprinting towards a reversing silver Toyota Corolla sedan – pursued by the owner of a brown bag.
As the suspect reaches for the opening back door, the owner of the bag points towards him and the suspect collapses suddenly, next to the word STOP, painted in white on the tarmac. The vehicle, with the back door still open, speeds off.
“These people, all the time they steal from us,” the shaken owner of the bag says in a subsequent video clip, showing police and paramedics standing next to the covered-up body of the suspected thief.
“And his friends ran away from him. They left him,” said a woman bystander, facing the lifeless body.
Limpopo police spokesperson Col Moatshe Ngoepe said a 58-year-old man had left his vehicle to deposit money at one of the ATMs at the mall.
“While walking towards the ATM, he saw the suspect running away from his motor vehicle with his bag, towards the getaway vehicle, with four occupants inside, and he gave chase on foot,” said Ngoepe.
“He ordered the suspect to stop but he continued running until he fired some shots towards the alleged suspect, who died instantly.”
The suspect, in his 30s, was certified dead at the scene.
“The stolen bag was recovered with some of the contents, including cellphones and an undisclosed amount of cash,” said Ngoepe.
A case of theft of a motor vehicle and an inquest were opened.
Police are looking for the remaining four suspects.