‘Buyers’ rob woman

2013-01-30 00:00

A MERRIVALE pensioner whose home is on the market was yesterday robbed of goods worth R300 000 by a gang of three posing as house hunters.

Virginia Pottow was expecting a visit from her daughter. When she heard a car hooting outside she opened the gate without first checking who it was.

The 67-year-old pensioner, who was home alone, was suddenly confronted by two men and a woman in a silver-grey Toyota with Eastern Cape number plates.

They claimed they were house-hunting.

“They said they saw my house posted on the Internet and I fell for that because the house is indeed posted on the Internet.

“They must have also seen the ‘for sale’ sign outside the property,” said Pottow.

While she showed them the house, one of the men asked for a glass of water.

Pottow went to fetch the water in the kitchen and when she returned, she noticed that her handbag was open and her cellphone was missing.

When she asked the visitors about the open handbag and the cellphone, they threatened her with a screwdriver and tied her up.

“They went and broke my cupboard in my bedroom and took my jewellery, removed my diamond engagement ring and my wedding band. They also took my diamond earrings and laptop. I’m grateful that I wasn’t hurt in the process.

“This is not what I wish to happen to other vulnerable house owners,” said Pottow.

She would not disclose the value of the stolen items, but police spokesperson Captain Lolly Moodley said the items were worth about R300 000.

“It was so foolish of me to allow them in. I was expecting my daughter when I heard the car horn at the gate. When I realised that it was not her, they were already in the yard,” she said.

Her two mistakes were to open her gate before checking whether whoever was hooting at her gate was indeed the visitor she was expecting, and failing to refer the three to the estate agent when they told her they were interested in buying her house.

“People shouldn’t let strangers into their homes, especially when one is home alone. She is lucky that she was not hurt,” said Moodley.

He said Howick police were investigating a house robbery case.

Pottow said her mistakes should be a lesson to other residents about the dangers of allowing strangers into their properties.

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