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‘Granny’ mugger strikes S.African shopping centre

Police in South Africa are searching for an elderly woman who allegedly persuades young men at a mall to help carry heavy bags from her car, then kidnaps them from the parking lot and robs them.

The woman, who works with two male accomplices, targets shoppers standing in bank queues at a mall in Johannesburg’s Soweto township and has struck at least twice recently, The New Age newspaper reported Friday.

“I never suspected anything wicked about the old woman as she looked like a pensioner and had a walking stick,” 18-year-old victim Kabelo Dube told the newspaper.

He said he was waiting in line to deposit money at the bank when a young man approached and asked him for help unloading the old woman’s bags.

He went with the pair to the car and began to help with the bags, but then felt a gun pressed against his head and was ordered to get in the car, he said.

The woman and her two accomplices then drove a short distance from the mall, took his money — 1,200 rand ($173, 122 euros) — and forced him out of the car, he said.

“I went back to the mall and reported the incident to the security guards, who advised me to go to a police station and open a case,” he said.

“Before I could leave another man came into the security control room to report that he had also been robbed by two men and a granny.”

A police spokesman said a case had been opened and officers were searching for the suspects.