Tales of terror: Residents tell of brazen daylight attacks by gang

2008-03-27 00:00

One resident who’ll be happy to see the criminals behind bars is Hennie van der Bergh. Last Sunday, he returned to his Henderson Road home earlier than usual, at around 4.30 pm, and saw his electric gates had been taken off the rails and the motor ripped off its mountings.

“I knew there’d been a break-in and as I turned into the driveway I saw a white car parked there with men inside. One of them jumped out and started running towards me with a gun in his hand.

“I slammed the car into reverse, but the man was at the passenger window already.

He was trying to smash it open and I was waiting for him to shoot me through the glass. I had to reverse out at high speed into the road and luckily there were no cars coming. I got away and sped to the Town Hill police station.”

In Van der Bergh’s case, the robbers were interrupted before they could break in and loot the house.

Not so fortunate were the Sagar family in Howick Road.

Three men arrived at their home earlier last week and told the elderly domestic worker, Elizabeth Maphumela, they had come to make a delivery.

“I was at school at the time,” said Sandy Sagar, “but Elizabeth let them in because we often get deliveries. When she realised they were thieves she managed to put a cell call through to me and left the line open. I could hear her talking to somebody and then heard men shouting at her in Zulu and I knew something was wrong.

“I immediately phoned the security company and police and rushed home, but by that time they had gone. They’d bashed her and pulled her round by the hair trying to get her to tell them where we kept our valuables. She’s still in a state of shock and, apart from all the valuables taken, I think the saddest thing about it all is that young men could treat an old woman in this way.”

In many cases, the homes had large watchdogs on the premises that, for unknown reasons, did not raise the alarm, as in the case of the Uys family in Valley Vista Road. Again, using the pretext of a delivery, the thieves gained entrance while only a domestic helper was at home.

They beat her up and made off with a huge haul of hi-tech equipment and jewellery. During the burglary, the dogs, huge boerbulls, stayed silent.

Also last week, Marguerite van Schalkwyk, in Poole Road, had a similar experience, but in this case it was four dogs that stayed silent. “This is the first burglary I’ve had in 50 years,” she said. “And I’m very puzzled about the dogs.”

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