Thieves fool house alarms with umbrellas

2008-10-17 00:00

Durban thieves have found an innovative way to break into houses without setting off electronic alarm systems.

By using large golf umbrellas, they shield their bodies from alarm sensors.

In the latest incident, robbers broke into a fully armed Morningside home and made off with expensive appliances.

Owner Sally Scott told Weekend Witness that the robbers entered the house through a tiny bathroom window on Thursday without setting off her alarm system.

The robbers stole a 60-year-old string set of pearls that belonged to Scott’s mother. This is the third such robbery in the past six weeks. “When my daughter got home, she found that the window had been broken and the burglar guard bent in. When she went into my bedroom, she saw that the [burglar alarm] was fully armed,” she said.

Scott said she normally gets a phone call whenever the alarm goes off, but this time the alarm didn’t go off.

“When Chubb security arrived, they told me that robbers used this modus operandi [the umbrella] when breaking into homes. It covers the body so sensors can’t pick it up,” she said.

When Scott and the security guard went outside, they found a golf umbrella and a screwdriver lying in the garden.

She said that another tactic robbers employ is to wrap themselves in a wet blanket, which also shields them from the sensor.

Scott said security companies should inform people about crime trends.

“We go out thinking our homes are safe. Security companies need to inform their clients about these things so that we can upgrade our security systems,” she said. She said the thieves almost cleaned out her entire home and stole sentimental items.

Chubb spokeswoman Alison Bull said that a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the robbery will be conducted. “We will do everything in our power to find out what happened,” she said.

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

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.