Is PMB’s 5-minute gang back?

2012-02-09 00:00

THE recent re-emergence of lightning-fast burglaries in some suburbs around Pietermaritzburg has raised concern that a copy-cat of the “five-minute gang” that terrorised the city a few years ago is back.

The gang, dubbed the “five-minute gang” for their efficiency when robbing homes, terrorised the city with a spate of house robberies.

Alleged members of the gang were arrested in 2008.

Several homes in Hilton, Montrose, Chase Valley and Wembley have been burgled in the past few weeks with a similar modus operandi and efficiency, raising fears that the gang is back or another gang is employing similar tactics.

The gang is thought to comprise four men driving two luxury cars. They drive up to a house and ring the intercom; if there is no answer they derail the driveway gate, enter the premises and force open the doors.

They steal television sets, computers , DVD players, music systems and other electronic items, firearms, jewellery and cash.

One of their victims in Chase Valley, who declined to be named, said he believed the “five-minute gang” was back. Two weeks ago the gang broke into his home and stole handguns, expensive jewellery, laptops and money, all to the value of R400 000.

“They forced open my gate and when they gained entrance they took many things, including handguns, but they left the rifles.

“They were in and out very quickly.

“We are thinking of even selling the house because my wife says she cannot stay here any more because this whole thing happened during the day.”

Another victim in Wembley said the gang stole high-tech electronics such as TVs and DVDs to the value of R15 000.

“I had an alarm system and when they broke in it went off, so they did not have time to grab a lot of things.”

Harold Rees, the chairperson of the community policing forum in the Winterskloof area, said there had been an increase in burglaries there, although not as sophisticated as the “five-minute gang”.

Captain Thulani Zwane of the SA Police Service said there have been reports of burglaries with similar modus operandi.

He said residents should chain their gates with padlocks to prevent their removal.

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