Robbed in new home

2013-12-04 00:00

A JOHANNESBURG couple’s peaceful Hilton retirement dream was shattered when robbers broke into their home and beat them up on Monday night.

Rob Hare (64) and his wife Joanna (54) had been in their new home for only 16 days when the criminals struck. The couple, who had been caravanning around the country for a year, had chosen to settle in Hilton, where Joanna had grown up.

They were living out of their suitcases waiting for their new home to be fully renovated and for their furniture to arrive from storage.

The couple had gone to bed after quietly celebrating Rob’s birthday. They had fallen asleep and it was past midnight when Joanna heard a noise in the living room. She assumed it was monkeys that had managed to get inside the house.

She woke Rob and asked him to go and chase them out. When he got up and opened the security gate into the living area, he saw two men in dark clothes and balaclavas wielding a crowbar. Rob shouted at them, but they attacked him with the crowbar, hitting him over the head and shoulders.

Joanna then saw more men entering the house. The couple think there were about four or five assailants. They were tied up and the men kept shouting at them not to look at their faces. They were told to lie on the floor.

The men stole the couple’s two iPhones, a laptop and various other items of jewellery and kept shouting that they wanted more cash.

Joanna said, “They were young and aggressive and also anxious.”

As newcomers to the area, they did not want to disturb their new neighbours, so the couple had to drive around in the strange neighbourhood until they found the Hilton police station to report the crime.

Rob said, “The cop on duty was very sleepy until he saw me come in with blood pouring out my head and then he jumped around and they were very efficient.”

The couple have praised the police and their builder has promised to make sure their security is a priority. They are both pleased that they were not tortured or badly hurt.

Rob said, “We lived in Johannesburg for years and luckily nothing happened there and now that we chose a quiet spot to live, crime struck. It is ironic.”

Said Joanna, “They took our camera with all our travelling memories and some jewellery that was very sentimental; that is what really hurts. That stuff has no value to them.”

Mdududzi Mjwara, the Hilton CPF chairperson, said over the past months they had seen a noticeable increase in crime, although they did not have statistics.

“In October we noticed an increase; I suspect that it’s the festive season and the increase might have something to do with that.”

A Hilton resident who asked not to be named, said there had been a lot of break-ins in the area in the recent past. She said in the last two months, at least three of her friends had been attacked and last month intruders tried to break into her home.

Avinash Sukai of Red Alert said there had been an increase in crime in the area but this was not just limited to the Hilton area.

He said most crimes were either committed during the day or in the early hours of the night and on weekends. “The ones that occur during the early morning are the tsotsi crimes that are more opportunistic.”

Police have appealed to anyone with information regarding the incident to contact the branch commander, Detective Warrant Officer Johnson Sindane of the Hilton Detective Services, on his office number at 033 845 6526 or on his cell: 082 459 7454.

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