‘Gadget Gang’ strikes again, uses school’s power tools to open safe

2016-02-02 13:29
Principal of Greenhill Primary School, Ishan Rajcoomar stands in the office where brazen robbers ransacked their safe and stock room.

Principal of Greenhill Primary School, Ishan Rajcoomar stands in the office where brazen robbers ransacked their safe and stock room. (Ian Carbutt )

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Pietermaritzburg - The notorious “Gadget Gang” has struck again, this time at Greenhill Primary School in the northern suburbs.

This is the fifth brazen attack on a ­Pietermaritzburg school in the last month, with the burglars using a similar modus operandi to that used at the other schools — entrance via the roof and ­disconnecting the alarm system.

School principal Ishan Rajcoomar said he set the school alarm at 11 am on Sunday, which was the last signal ­received by the alarm monitoring ­company.

The burglars made away with ­everything their safe contained, including documents and electronic goods.

“Unlike the other schools that were hit, we do not have an updated computer room. Our most valuable possessions are kept in locked offices and inside the safe in the administration block,” said Rajcoomar.

He said he was called by one of the cleaning staff, who lives on the school premises, at around 7 am on Monday morning, who told him that all the doors and gates were opened in the office block.

“It was shocking to walk into school and find our offices in a complete mess. The alarm, situated in the deputy principal’s office, had its wires cut and the doors and gates were all broken,” he said.

When TheWitness arrived at the school, office chairs, documents and broken ceiling panels lay strewn across the floor of the administration office, while school clerks attempted to call the Department of Education to advise them on the way forward.

“The safe was cut open by our own power tools that were kept in the stock room. They stole our school camera, ­deposit books, cheque books, starting pistol [for athletics] and cash donations that we received last Friday to the amount of R5 000,” said Rajcoomar.

The school laptop, with all the school’s administrative information, as well as a memory stick where information was backed up, were also taken.

Rajcoomar said he had spoken to the workers living at the school to be extra vigilant when he read about the other schools being robbed.

“We also had our alarm company come in last week to check the alarm and make sure everything was in order,” he said.

Rajcoomar said he was “highly ­disappointed” as Greenhill Primary worked “long and hard” to accumulate its now stolen assets.

“This is a poor school and it is really upsetting because I know what a ­struggle it was to get these belongings in the first place,” he said, adding that their stolen goods amounted to approximately R25 000, excluding the cost of fixing the ceiling, gates and doors.

Rajcoomar appealed to the public and business owners to assist the school in its repairs and to replace the stolen goods.

“More than anything, we need a safe. Even if it is a second-hand safe, we will be so grateful if someone could donate that as that is the urgent need,” he added.

Police spokesperson Captain Gay Ebrahim said the police are investigating the matter. She could not confirm whether the break-in was the handywork of the same gang that had burgled the other schools.

• kailene.pillay@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  gadget gang

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