El Chapo-style: Shoprite Liquor in Newtown robbed of alcohol worth R300k

Thieves tunneled through a solid concrete floor to gain access to the store and stole alcohol worth R300,000.

A Shoprite Liquor shop in Newtown Junction, Johannesburg was robbed of alcohol worth R300,000. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - A Shoprite Liquor store in Newtown Junction shopping centre, Johannesburg, has been robbed of alcohol worth R300,000.

In what some would say is Mexico’s El Chapo style, thieves tunneled through a solid concrete floor to gain access to the store.

The manager discovered the theft and a large hole in the ground on Friday.

"The incident took place during South Africa’s hard Level 4 and 5 lockdown period, during which the sale of alcohol was strictly prohibited," Shoprite said in a statement on Monday.

She was returning to prepare for the store’s reopening under the easing COVID-19 level 3 lockdown conditions on 1 June.

The thieves 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.

"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," the statement added.

A reward of R50,000 is up for grabs for anyone with information that may lead to arrests.