After the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S7 in South Africa in March, there were a number of reports of cellphone store robberies.
Six armed men robbed an MTN store in the Coastlands Gatemax centre in Umhlanga on the morning of the launch of the S7.
The Telkom Direct store in Centurion was robbed that weekend (12 March), with criminals walking off with all its stock – including its S7 smartphones.
Thieves also tried to break into an MTN store at the Musgrave Centre in Durban on 13 March, but failed.
The increase in reports is not indicative of an increase in cellular store robberies, however.
“These robbery incidents have occurred in the past, long before the launch of the Samsung S7 devices,” said Ike Dube, general manager for business risk management at MTN SA.
“There is no link that MTN is aware of between the launch of the S7 and the robberies that took place.”
Dube said MTN was working with the industry and law enforcement agencies to curb the recurrence of store robberies without negatively impacting customer service.
Cell C echoed MTN’s statement, saying it did not see a link between the arrival of the S7 and robberies of its stores.
“We are aware that there has been an increase in store robberies, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal, where all cellular stores have been targeted,” said Cell C.
“We have implemented additional security measures to minimise our losses.”