Attack at top school

2018-03-20 13:30
Michaelhouse marketing manager Murray Witherspoon inspects the security fence surrounding the school on Monday.

Michaelhouse marketing manager Murray Witherspoon inspects the security fence surrounding the school on Monday. (Ian Carbutt)

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A Michaelhouse staff member and his family were robbed at gunpoint on Monday morning when five men entered the school estate and broke into the man’s home.

Swift action by the school’s security company and police resulted in five men being arrested within hours — two of them at the scene of the incident following a shootout on the school property.

The staff member (whose name was withheld for professional reasons) and his wife live in a house on the school grounds.

The Witness was told that other family members were visiting the couple and were present at the time of the robbery.

None of the family members were injured during the robbery and were lucky to escape with just a few bruises.

It was around 2 am on Monday when the peace of the estate was broken by a shrill alarm, sounding the call for help.

The school’s security company, Ballid Security, rushed to the scene in response to the alarm and interrupted the robbery in progress.

Mountain Rise police spokesperson Captain Gay Ebrahim said on Monday the five men had entered the house through the back door.

Ebrahim said one of the five men had a gun and the family members were bound with handcuffs or electrical cord as the robbers ransacked the house.

Ebrahim said when the robbers realised that Ballid Security had arrived at the house, they began firing shots at the guards. The guards retaliated and shot back, hitting two of the robbers, one in the leg and the other in the buttocks.

The two injured men were arrested and when police arrived on scene, the hunt for the other three robbers began.

Police, together with Ballid Security were able to track down the remaining three suspects with the last robber being arrested at 4 am on Monday morning along the R103.

The robbers’ getaway vehicle was also seized and it was found that the men had already loaded and packed the car with stolen items, ready to transport them to their next destination.

“More stolen items are still missing,” said Ebrahim. “The investigation is ongoing and at a delicate stage.

“Thus far, it has been established that one of the suspects was in possession of a firearm,” Ebrahim said.

Ballid Security owner Riaan Claasen commended the brave guards who responded to the robbery and said they did a “brilliant job”.

“We live for this ... keeping people safe,” said Claassen, adding it was suspected that the five men have been involved in various other robberies but further investigations will confirm this.

Michaelhouse marketing manager Murray Witherspoon said they are still trying to understand how the culprits made their way onto the grounds, but “Ballid Security and the police reacted very quickly; they were unbelievable.

“The incident has really brought home the reality of the world beyond our gates. We’re constantly re-evaluating our security measures and processes, and the incident has confirmed the importance of this.

“We had an emergency meeting with the staff at 7.15 am this morning and after that we met with the boys to explain what had happened.

“All the parents were contacted at 4.30 am to let them know about the incident and that all was okay. Everyone is in the loop and it helps to step up vigilance,” he said.

Ebrahim said the five arrested men are expected to appear in court soon.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  house robberies

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