Shootout in the dark

2018-01-18 15:11
In this CCTV recording viewed on a cellphone, five armed intruders run towards the Ferncliffe forest after being spotted by a patrolling security guard. Two Red Alert reaction guards chased the men on foot and found themselves in the midst of a shootout.

In this CCTV recording viewed on a cellphone, five armed intruders run towards the Ferncliffe forest after being spotted by a patrolling security guard. Two Red Alert reaction guards chased the men on foot and found themselves in the midst of a shootout. (Supplied)

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Residents of the peaceful Oak Park area were awoken by a series of gunshots on Wednesday morning as five armed robbers fired multiple shots at two Red Alert security guards.

It was just after 1 am on Wednesday morning when five armed men carrying bags and wearing balaclavas and gloves, entered a property in the Oak Park area using a servitude between the Ferncliffe forest and the property.

In CCTV footage from cameras around the property, the men can be seen sneaking along the servitude before entering the property.

The men broke into a house, stealing a few items of little value before being spooked when the home alarm went off.

The owner of the home, who asked not to be named, said he heard the alarm go off and went to switch on the outside light.

He said the men were out of the house in just under two minutes and he saw them running down the road.

The CCTV footage shows a guard patrolling the property, missing the armed gang and a potential confrontation by mere seconds.

When the alarm was activated, the guard spotted the five men from a distance and pressed a panic button before giving chase. According to sources, the brave guard was not even armed.

The owner told The Witness that Red Alert arrived on the scene within minutes.

Red Alert regional manager Rob Anderson said the property guard had pointed to the Ferncliffe forest into which the five men escaped, and the two armed Red Alert guards followed in hot pursuit.

Anderson said the officers entered the forest on foot and decided to split up to cover more ground, however, one of the guards came under fire.

“He did not know where the shots were coming from because it was so dark. He just heard the shots and the bullets zinging past him. He fired back in self defence.”

Anderson said the second guard quickly came to his partner’s aid but the gunmen appeared to have left.

“The two guards sat quietly in the forest for a little while in case the robbers came back.

“One of them came toward the guards and when he saw them he started to shout and swear at them and then he began shooting at them.”

Anderson said the guards then came under fire from various angles as the attackers split up and started shooting at them.

“The area was in complete darkness. All they could hear were the gunshots and the bullets flying by.”

He said the Pietermaritzburg K9 Unit arrived soon afterwards but the assailants had vanished.

The homeowner thanked Red Alert and the community for working together and coming to his aid so quickly.

He urged the public not to take their alarm systems for granted and get to know their neighbours in case their homes were broken into or they were robbed.

Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said last night that no case was opened with the police in connection with the incident. He has asked Red Alert to report the matter so that the SAPS can investigate.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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