Robbers terrorise two families

2018-02-08 13:27

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Robbers who targeted precious jewellery threatened to rape an Orient Heights couple’s daughter if they did not give them the loot they wanted.

Two Pietermaritzburg families lost hundreds of thousands of rands in jewellery when they were allegedly robbed at gunpoint in two house robberies within 48 hours of each other.

In one incident, an Orient Heights family of six watched in horror as four brazen armed men ransacked their house on Tuesday evening.

In the other incident — which occurred nearby in the Northdale area on Sunday night — an 87-year-old woman was held at gunpoint and forced to remove the jewellery she was wearing.

Both traumatised families, who did not want to be identified, told The Witness they felt lucky to escape the incidents unharmed.

The mother in the Orient Heights family said she, her husband, her 82-year-old mother, and three people in their mid-20s were in the house at the time the robbers struck.

She said at around 7 pm two men came in through the front door, and another two through the back door, while one waited in a getaway vehicle.

Their ordeal lasted about half-an-hour.

“It wasn’t even dark outside, and they came in and moved us all into one room. One of the [robbers] told me ‘Give me what we want or we’ll rape your daughter in the other room’.”

She said: “They made us all go into one room and asked us to open all the drawers. They took two laptops, eight cell phones, our TV and jewellery. They lifted up mattresses looking for things.

“They asked us where our safe was, and we told them we didn’t have one. They started removing clothes from the cupboards looking for a safe.”

She said the robbers had also taken a car key and a remote control for their front gate, which they have since managed to re-code.

She said neighbours became suspicious at the getaway vehicle — a silver VW Polo — parked on the road and tried to intervene. She said that was presumably what caused the men to flee.

“We lost about R460 000 in jewellery. I used to collect watches, they took those. We were being violated in our own home and there was nothing we could do about it,” the woman said.

The incident in Northdale happened at about 10 pm.

A family member said: “I was in the lounge watching soccer, my wife and my mother were asleep,” he said. “Our front door was open and the veranda door was open but the main front gate was closed.”

He alleged two armed men walked into the home and gestured that he keep quiet. “They immediately took two cell phones I had with me and said ‘We’re here for gold’.”

“I just agreed with whatever they asked me to do. We walked to the bedroom where my wife was sleeping and she woke up … saw the gun and panicked. I asked them to please not harm her.”

He said the robbers opened his cupboards and put jewellery into a pillowcase. “They went to the safe and took watches, cash from my wallet and my wife’s jewellery.”

He said his 87-year-old mother, who did not know what was happening, woke up and walked to the toilet. “One guy pointed a gun at her. He made her remove all her jewellery including, a gold ring she has had for about 80 years.”

He said the family were taken into a bedroom and told not to move.

“They took my car keys and must have pressed the alarm by mistake thinking it was the gate remote. The alarm went off and they ran away.”

He said they took more than R400 000 in jewellery, including watches in boxes that had never been opened.

The man said his wife remains traumatised after the ordeal. “She can’t manage, and I just thank God they spared our lives.”

He said in the 58 years he has lived in the house, they have never experienced a single incident until this one. “We have to sleep in fear in this area now. The crime is out of hand.”

Police confirmed the incidents, and warned people not to keep large amounts of jewellery at their homes but to rather keep it in safety deposit boxes.

Two cases of house robbery are being investigated, police said.

Read more on:    house robberies

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