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US magician robbed in South Africa

Published: 9:10PM Tuesday May 15, 2007 Source: Reuters

An American magician famed for escaping from tight spots has become the latest victim of armed robbery in South Africa.

Steve Cuiffo - an associate of celebrity magician David Blaine - was robbed of camera, cellphone and wallet during a visit to a 15-year-old student who dreamed of becoming a magician, the Cape Times reported on Tuesday.

"We were outside, getting into the van. Suddenly we were surrounded by men with guns," said Cuiffo, who was accompanied by a college director and teachers on the visit to Cape Town.

The robbers then fled in the college's branded, National Lottery-sponsored "Magic Van".

South Africa has one of the world's worst crime rates. Its outgunned and underpaid police force is struggling in the fight against murders, rapes, robberies and car jackings.