Robbed by brazen five

2016-11-07 10:41
Old Howick Road resident Donald Hollins stands next to the window five men smashed their way through in the early hours of Friday morning to gain entry into their property.

Old Howick Road resident Donald Hollins stands next to the window five men smashed their way through in the early hours of Friday morning to gain entry into their property. (Ian Carbutt)

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An Old Howick Road family became the victims of five brazen robbers who smashed their way into their home and confronted a 77-year-old grandmother.

Moments earlier the robbers had a romp, jumping on the neighbours’ trampoline.

In the early hours of Friday morning, Terry and Donald Hollins were asleep when five men broke through their lounge window, and stole their plasma TV, an Xbox and several other electronic items, before moving on to the granny flat where Donald’s 77-year-old mother was sleeping.

Terry said at exactly 1.16 am yesterday, she heard a bang come from the lounge.

“I first thought the window had slammed shut because of all the wind, but a second bang came straight afterwards, and then I knew they were trying to get into our house,” she said.

Terry said the intruders hit the shatterproof window seven times with a portable gas heater that had been standing outside before the window finally broke.

She said although there was a slam-lock gate separating the family from the robbers, she was petrified the men might break through and enter their bedroom.

“As soon as I heard them breaking the window, I grabbed my son, who is seven-and-a-half years old, and hid him in the cupboard.

“Donald was standing behind the bedroom door with a machete in case they did make it through to the bedroom.

“They were very loud. They knew we were home and they did not care. It was like it was all a big joke to them.”

She said the men spent about 10 minutes inside their home, collecting all the electronics they could find.

“One of the men came and rattled the gate at some point and whenever the dogs, who were in the bedroom with us, ran to the gate, one of the men would shout ‘Bah!’ and scare them away.

“After they left, I heard the window of the granny flat break, and all I could think about is what they might do to my mother-in-law, who was in the small flat, sleeping.”

Donald’s mother, Dorothy Palmer, fondly known as Binky, said she thought she heard a noise and had wondered through into the lounge.

“Two men were in the lounge. One grabbed my arm and sat me down in one of the chairs,” she said.

“He said he would not hurt me but I must sit and not move.

“It was so dark and I was so shocked. Everything is a little hazy.”

The main house and the granny flat were plunged into darkness as the electricity tripped after the men ripped the cables from the television out of the wall.

The two men who had entered Palmer’s flat through the spare bedroom window fled with her TV and her laptop.

Donald warned future victims not to interact with the men.

“Everyone in the Hilton and Old Howick Road area should let their children sleep in their bedrooms and keep the dogs in the bedrooms too.

“Make yourself inaccessible. These men came specifically for our electronics, but I would not advise anyone to interact with them.

“They were almost casual about it all, like it did not matter that our lives were in danger,” he said.

THE Hollins’s next door neighbour, who would not be named, said the security cameras outside his home caught the five men leopard-crawling through his yard.

“They tried to break into our home first but gave up. One of the men climbed on to our trampoline and was jumping on it for about 20 seconds before they climbed over the wall and into our neighbours’ garden.”

Both Hilton Community Policing Forum chairperson Nduduzi Mjwara and Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese had not responded to questions for comment at the time of going to print on Friday afternoon.

The activity of the gang, which is believed to be responsible for numerous house breakins around the city has left many home-owners concerned.

Red Alert Operational manager in Pietermaritzburg, Avinash Sukai, said for the past two weeks, they had been inundated with calls from both existing and potential clients.

He said their existing clients had been calling to request more visibility in their respective areas while potential clients had been asking for quotations for security services.

He said the company is now conducting random calls to their clients to remind them to test their alarm systems before going to bed.

Hilton based Aliwal Security’s control room operator, Ashley Achary, also confirmed the series of house breaking plaguing the leafy Hilton suburb.

“Many people are calling us to request security upgrades for the their home,” said Achary.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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