Wife uses chair to hit thief off stoep

2016-10-28 11:11
The chair a homeowner used as a weapon to fend off housebreakers at their Old Howick Road home during the early hours of Thursday morning.

The chair a homeowner used as a weapon to fend off housebreakers at their Old Howick Road home during the early hours of Thursday morning. (Ian Carbutt)

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Could Pietermaritzburg’s new ‘Five-Minute gang’ copycats be behind a series of housebreakings in Townhill and Prestbury?

Judging by reports from residents who have fallen victim to a wave of housebreakings in the city, the gang consists of between five to seven men who are using an expensive white Audi as a getaway car.

The gang members appear to be highly professional, using masks, gloves and housebreaking implements to gain access into homes with ease, looting the premises in under five minutes.

The Witness exposed the gang’s modus operandi earlier this week after they were spotted on CCTV cameras breaking into a Raisethorpe home.

The same Audi has been spotted during housebreakings in Napierville and Prestbury since early last week.

A Wembley home owner yesterday said he believes the gang may have struck at his home, and the homes of two neighbours, during the early hours of Thursday morning.

Old Howick Road resident Mike Brown described his ordeal to The Witness on Thursday, saying a gang of robbers used logs from an adjacent forest as battering rams to break into his home.

Brown said he was asleep with his wife and dog when he heard banging on a glass door downstairs.

Brown said there were about six or seven men who entered his yard from a forest next to his home, using the logs to pry open his fence and ram down his doors.

“The alarm went off and we heard the commotion downstairs. The men were throwing things around and used pot plants to [try to] bang down a security gate that divides both floors in the house. Luckily they did not get through,” Brown said. He alerted his security company and officers from the police Flying Squad, who arrived 15 and two minutes later respectively. But by then, the intruders had disappeared.

“When the robbers could not get through the security gate, they used a stool to try and climb onto our balcony upstairs, but my wife, Glynis, ‘klapped’ one of them with a plastic chair and sent him tumbling down,” Brown laughed.

The Witness found the chair almost broken in half under the balcony on Thursday.

“At the time, I was most worried about my wife and our four-legged ‘child’. We waited for the police to arrive before we came downstairs.”

Brown said he found the ground floor of his home in a pool of soil and mud. “The floor was ankle deep in soil after they flung pot plants at the security gate. Our verandah was also full of mud. Everything happened in under 10 minutes,” Brown said.

“My bar fridge was emptied out, they took every last drop of alcohol. They were also very selective. They pulled down our curtains to wrap up our flat screen television but left behind our old television set in the next room.”

The robbers also stole a tablet, food and remotes before escaping into the forest.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said there were two other housebreakings in the area, all of which took place between 1 am and 2 am on Thursday.

“It seems there is a syndicate operating and they are targeting television sets. There was a similar modus operandi in all three cases. The police will intensify their visibility and a task team has been put in place to investigate this new spate of robberies,” Ngobese said.

“We appeal to residents to report cases to the police and consider establishing neighbourhood watches to create workable relations with the police.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  robberies

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