House-sitters traumatised after being tied up by robbers

2015-07-15 19:06
(File: News24)

(File: News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - A couple who were house-sitting in Fresnaye have described their ordeal after a gang of men broke into the home early on Wednesday morning and bound their hands and feet with electrical cords.

Gary Pentland-Smith said he and his wife had been in bed at the Avenue Bordeaux home when three men entered the house at about 00:30 on Wednesday morning.

The men gained entry to the home via the bathroom window.

When he realised what was happening, he pulled at the handle of the bathroom door to stop them from accessing the rest of the house, Pentland-Smith told News24.

“I knew it was just a matter of time before they gained entry,” he said.

“It’s a terrible feeling knowing there’s nothing you can do to keep them out. But I held on.”

When one of the men managed to open the door far enough to attempt to cut at Pentland-Smith’s hand, he let go.

His wife had been trying to activate the panic button and phone for help while the robbers made their way in.

“One of them came at me with a knife and I used my duvet to shield myself,” Pentland-Smith recalled.

When they assured their assailants they would be co-operative, their hands and feet were bound with electrical cords.

Pentland-Smith was then tied to a chair.

“They demanded money, a safe and laptops, which we didn’t have. I pointed out that this was not our house and they were frustrated that we didn’t have high value items for them to steal.”

The men then took his suitcase and piled in Pentland-Smith’s clothes, shoes, the couple’s wedding rings, watches, cellphones and any items they could fit inside.

“I don’t think the oldest one was over 25,” he said.

One of the men then demanded the couple’s car keys, and Pentland-Smith told him they were on a table downstairs.

The alarm was activated as the men made their way to the ground floor.

He said the men then tried to pick him up in the chair he was bound in to carry him to the keypad to turn it off.

“It was anything but easy. They hurt my shoulder in their attempt.”

Armed response arrived after alarm went off

An armed response officer pulled up within minutes of the alarm sounding, foiling the men's plan to steal the car, he said.

They fled on foot instead.

Pentland-Smith managed to untie himself as well as his wife, while shouting to the officer that they had been robbed.

The local neighbourhood watch and police arrived soon after, he said.

“They were excellent. Everyone was helpful.”

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut said a case of house robbery was being investigated. “The [three suspects] are yet to be arrested,” he said. 

Pentland-Smith, who lives only minutes away from the Avenue Bordeaux house, said he is relieved they were not injured during the home invasion.

He said he had been living in South Africa for 12 years after emigrating from Zimbabwe. Aside from a burglary where a laptop was stolen two weeks ago, he had never fallen victim to crime, he said.

“I feel unsettled and concerned, but I will not let this one incident change how I feel about living here [in South Africa]

“I’m not going anywhere. I am here to stay.”

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

How much food do you need to concentrate?

We have been taught that we need three meals a day in order to make it through the day and while most of us indulge in more than our fair share there is a large portion of South Africans who are living off barely enough to sustain them.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.