Burglars move fast

2015-10-13 06:00
Claire Swanson points to the spot where the burglars gained access to her home.

earl haupt

Claire Swanson points to the spot where the burglars gained access to her home. PHOTO: earl haupt

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Seven minutes.

That’s all it took for burglars to enter and ransack Claire Swanson and Jacqueline Cloete’s home in Sybrand Park last weekend.

The couple were out watching the Springboks tackle Scotland in the World Cup when they were alerted by their security company to a robbery taking place after their alarm had been set off.

Items and damage of more than R100 000 was inflicted on Swanson and Cloete’s property, leaving them in a state of shock.

“We had left after 17:00 and had gone to my folks and at 19:50 we got a call from ADT and they said that they had received an alarm signal at 19:45 and they were standing outside our door and our front door was standing wide open.

“We sped down with my father. By that time ADT was still outside and the front door was open and I could see that the whole handle of the front door was lying on the floor and then I knew that we had been burgled. ADT then escorted us into the house and that is when we saw that we had been burgled, particularly in our lounge. Our TV, laptops had been stolen.”

Swanson explains that the siren’s chord had been cut and that nothing that had been used to gain entry into the house had been left behind.

However, a nearby neighbour of Cloete and Swanson, Sheila Marthinussen, sounded a warning to police and security companies in the area when her suspicions were raised while allegedly coming into contact with one of the would-be burglars.

Marthinussen too was watching the rugby with her brother and heard her doorbell ring shortly after her son had left to visit a friend. She initially thought it was her son returning to fetch something. But to her surprise, she found a man tampering with the gate when she looked through the door’s peephole. She tried to catch a better glimpse of the man through a bedroom window, but startled him and he fled across the street, into a white Volkswagen Jetta with tinted windows.

“I ran upstairs to see if I could see a number plate, but I couldn’t because I could see the car disappear around the corner. My instinct told me that something was not right. I phoned the police immediately,” she says.

Marthinussen told the police about the suspicious car and asked them to come to her house. She then called her neighbour, but by the time the police had arrived, the house had already been burgled.

Cloete and Swanson have been left angry and are amazed that something so destructive can happen so quickly.
“I could not fathom that somebody could burgle a house in 10 minutes, so I definitely thought that there was still somebody around. It took four minutes to get back here and they had told us over the phone that they were there within 10 minutes,” Swanson says.

“We sat outside and were just in shock,” says Cloete.

“I couldn’t believe that they stole the TV off the wall. Definitely two guys would have had to carry the TV out; that I couldn’t believe. All the other things that they stole, like the laptops and the jewellery . . .
“I just couldn’t believe all they did in such a short time and also they knew what they wanted.”

Angie Latchman, Wynberg policing cluster spokesperson, says there are no definitive links to the crime, despite the similarities with other burglaries of this nature.

“There are numerous groupings and people using the same modus operandi to commit crime. The cars used in the commission of this crime are different. The Wynberg cluster has reported a few cases whereby the mode of entry to homes was a crowbar.
“The community is urged to ensure that they install all the necessary security measures to safeguard themselves and their homes. The installation of a good security system, as well as cameras, is always recommended.”

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