House-sitters traumatised after being tied up by robbers

2015-07-15 19:06
(File: News24)

(File: News24)

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Cape Town - A couple who were house-sitting in Fresnaye have described their ordeal after a gang of men broke into the home early on Wednesday morning and bound their hands and feet with electrical cords.

Gary Pentland-Smith said he and his wife had been in bed at the Avenue Bordeaux home when three men entered the house at about 00:30 on Wednesday morning.

The men gained entry to the home via the bathroom window.

When he realised what was happening, he pulled at the handle of the bathroom door to stop them from accessing the rest of the house, Pentland-Smith told News24.

“I knew it was just a matter of time before they gained entry,” he said.

“It’s a terrible feeling knowing there’s nothing you can do to keep them out. But I held on.”

When one of the men managed to open the door far enough to attempt to cut at Pentland-Smith’s hand, he let go.

His wife had been trying to activate the panic button and phone for help while the robbers made their way in.

“One of them came at me with a knife and I used my duvet to shield myself,” Pentland-Smith recalled.

When they assured their assailants they would be co-operative, their hands and feet were bound with electrical cords.

Pentland-Smith was then tied to a chair.

“They demanded money, a safe and laptops, which we didn’t have. I pointed out that this was not our house and they were frustrated that we didn’t have high value items for them to steal.”

The men then took his suitcase and piled in Pentland-Smith’s clothes, shoes, the couple’s wedding rings, watches, cellphones and any items they could fit inside.

“I don’t think the oldest one was over 25,” he said.

One of the men then demanded the couple’s car keys, and Pentland-Smith told him they were on a table downstairs.

The alarm was activated as the men made their way to the ground floor.

He said the men then tried to pick him up in the chair he was bound in to carry him to the keypad to turn it off.

“It was anything but easy. They hurt my shoulder in their attempt.”

Armed response arrived after alarm went off

An armed response officer pulled up within minutes of the alarm sounding, foiling the men's plan to steal the car, he said.

They fled on foot instead.

Pentland-Smith managed to untie himself as well as his wife, while shouting to the officer that they had been robbed.

The local neighbourhood watch and police arrived soon after, he said.

“They were excellent. Everyone was helpful.”

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut said a case of house robbery was being investigated. “The [three suspects] are yet to be arrested,” he said. 

Pentland-Smith, who lives only minutes away from the Avenue Bordeaux house, said he is relieved they were not injured during the home invasion.

He said he had been living in South Africa for 12 years after emigrating from Zimbabwe. Aside from a burglary where a laptop was stolen two weeks ago, he had never fallen victim to crime, he said.

“I feel unsettled and concerned, but I will not let this one incident change how I feel about living here [in South Africa]

“I’m not going anywhere. I am here to stay.”

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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