Robbed in a graveyard

2017-08-16 13:45
Mountain Rise Cemetery.

Mountain Rise Cemetery. (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - A local man and his mother, 69, were robbed at knife point while praying at a loved one’s grave at the Mountain Rise Cemetery on Sunday.

The man had taken his mother to the cemetery on Sunday morning to visit his father’s grave when four men approached them.

The man, who did not want to be named, said the men, who appeared to be in their 20s, approached them carrying a plastic bottle and asked them for water.

“We had two water bottles behind us so I said yes and as one of the men bent down to reach for the water he grabbed my jeans and demanded money.

“Then they all pulled out knives,” he said.

“I really thought they wanted water. I did not expect to be robbed while visiting my father’s grave.”

He said two of the men threatened him and his mother with knives while they searched their pockets as the other two took his car keys and raided his vehicle.

“They emptied out the vehicle and stole my mother’s jewellery and cellphone. She was very traumatised and we are both still in shock from the incident,” he said.

“To see a loved one held up like that, and be helpless to do anything is really not a nice experience.”

He said once the men had raided the car, they started running off with the car keys.

“I screamed out, “Where are my car keys,” and I saw one of them throw them into the bushes. I spent about five minutes looking for them before I found them and sped off with my mom to the police station.”

He said the men had stolen valuables worth R50 000 and said that although he might not get any of his belongings back, he hoped the four men were found and arrested quickly so this would not happen to others.

Facebook user Aleck de Beer posted on The Witness Facebook page and said he and his family removed the ashes of his mother and father-in-law as people had been breaking tomb stones and stealing the ashes.

“Yip, I have not been to my father’s grave for about three years due to the crime and criminals that hang around in there,” posted Tersia van Wyk Bricout.

Mountain Rise police spokesperson Captain Gay Ebrahim said that although not many incidents of muggings at the cemetery had been reported, there were many complaints on social media.

She said the incidents usually took place near the railway line in the Ghost Town area.

“Police have stepped up patrols and urged visitors to also take the necessary precautions.”

She urged people to be always be aware of their surroundings and to avoid wearing or bringing any valuables to the cemetery.

She added that people should visit the cemetery in large groups to deter criminals.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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