Calm, quick crooks on camera

2013-12-18 00:00

A GROUP of brazen burglars have been caught on camera targeting Hayfields homes that they rob of mainly televisions and jewellery in only five minutes.

In the past two weeks, more than 15 residents in the area have all fallen victim to this gang who operate in the same manner.

They drive up and down the street of the targeted home for several minutes to observe the goings-on and press the intercom system to make doubly sure no one is home. They then break the gate or automated gate motor, and gain access to the house and leave with the stolen goods in about five minutes.

There has also been an alarming increase in car theft, with at least 20 vehicles stolen in three days in the Hayfields and Scottsville areas.

Footage from a recent incident clearly shows the face of one of the unmasked intruders who, together with the rest of the group, carry huge crowbars, hammers on long and short handles, and other tools.

A homeowner, who does not want to be named for fear of a reprisal attack, said they had left home at about 6.30 pm to go out for a family supper and had returned home at about 9.18 pm to find a white VW Golf parked outside their front gate.

“We saw stuff lying on the road outside our gate and thought it was people who had littered the street. Then we saw two guys jumping into the car with my child’s duvet all bundled up. It took us a few minutes to realise that our house was being robbed before we could spring into action,” said the woman.

She said her husband chased after the vehicle with all of them in it (her and their two children, aged one and five), but the getaway car managed to slip away.

“We rushed back home to find our automated gate motor broken and then the horror of a house that was completely ransacked. They even took my daughter’s play make-up and jewellery. It was only then that we realised how foolish we had been to give chase,” said the woman.

Rushing to view the footage, she said it was amazing to see how calm and collected the burglars were.

“They knew exactly what they were doing. You see the car driving on our street a few times, then you see them pressing the intercom, and then they drive around again, and finally they get out and start tampering with the gate.

“There’s clear footage of them walking up our driveway, with one of them even going the wrong way, and then you see them breaking the front door and getting in and coming out a few minutes later with our big-screen television,” she said.

Another resident, a street away, said he had a similar experience, but the burglars left the home after the alarm went off.

“I have no doubt it is the same gang. My footage also shows them circling the house, then also ringing the intercom and finally entering a few minutes later.

“I was lucky they only got as far as entering the front door before the alarm went off. On the flip side, it makes for hilarious viewing to watch them flee in such a hurry,” he said.

At least six other residents that The Witness spoke to all confirmed that their homes had been broken into in the same manner.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane confirmed they were investigating several cases of house break-ins in the area.

Local security company B-Secure said they have seen an unprecedented increase in the number of house break-ins in Hayfields.

“The areas generally targeted in Pietermaritzburg are Wembley, Montrose and Chase Valley. The robberies in Hayfields would suggest that the robbers have now extended their area of coverage.

“While it is expected that crime increases at this time of year, our latest information indicates that there were at least 20 cars stolen over a three-day period [this past weekend] in the Hayfields and Scottsville areas,” said Renee Stegen, manager of B-Secure.

THE four burglars wore balaclavas, and had what appears to be crowbars and a hammer with them. They took a flat screen TV, a filled bag, a radio and other unidentified items.

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