Man forced into grave

2016-07-01 11:45
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

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Pietermaritzburg - A funeral home is appealing for information after an employee was robbed at gunpoint in the Mountain Rise cemetery at the weekend.

The man was setting up for a burial service when robbers allegedly attacked him, making him lie face down in the grave while they stole an expensive casket-lowering device, before speeding off in a bakkie.

Holby Funeral Homes manager David Holby said the lowering device has sentimental value and the Holby family, who own the business, are offering up a reward to anyone who has positive information on the robbers’ whereabouts.

Holby said on Saturday morning, an employee was dropped off at the Mountain Rise cemetery to set up the lowering device, chairs, tents and carpets for a burial service scheduled for later that day.

Left alone to conduct his work, Holby said the employee was confronted by two men who got out of a Hyundai H100 bakkie that had driven across from the crematorium.

Face down

“The two men asked my employee which funeral home he worked for, and when he responded, one of them pulled out a gun and pointed it at him, forcing him to get into the grave face down.”

Holby said it is believed the pair then gestured to their accomplices in the bakkie to come over to the burial site.

Holby, who was quoting from his employee’s firsthand account, said the men loaded the equipment into the bakkie and sped off.

“They stole the lowering device which we imported many years ago and it is one of a kind. They also stole the specially cut carpets that we line the grave with. In total, these are valued at about R40 000,” Holby said.

He said they are working closely with police and Safe City officers to establish the bakkie’s number plate.

“This kind of thing has been happening in Durban for quite some time and we would like to warn other funeral services to be wary at all times, especially when they are setting up,” Holby said.

“It seems like these robbers were driving around the cemetery looking for someone to rob because the guards at the crematorium told us they spotted them there. It was an opportunistic crime.”

Anybody with information on the whereabouts of the lowering device or the alleged robbers is urged to contact the Mountain Rise police station.

The Witness was unable to speak to the employee himself.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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