Wild midnight robber chase

2018-05-02 16:57
A man approaches Hilton resident Wayne Stegen's gate. After spotting the security he quickly turns away.

A man approaches Hilton resident Wayne Stegen's gate. After spotting the security he quickly turns away. (Supplied/CCTV)

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Two burglars got an icy dunking in a swimming pool in the early hours of Tuesday after Hilton residents who were woken from their slumbers “hunted” them down via community Whats­App groups as they fled from one property to the next.

The two men succeeded in making their getaway after clambering out of the pool and fleeing the property, abandoning stolen goods from a house they had burgled a few minutes earlier.

The hunt for the burglars began just before 2 am when they approached Hilton resident Wayne Stegen’s front gate.

The two men, who were captured on Stegen’s security camera, were seen approaching the gate but immediately backed off once they spotted the camera.

Stegen said this did not stop the men as they went through his neighbour’s property and entered the back yard of Stegen’s home. Barking dogs scared off the intruders who then ran between various properties, and through back yards before attempting to break into yet another house.

The burglars gained entry to the home and stole a TV and a HiFi, leaving the owners, who were asleep upstairs, unharmed.

A string of messages on various Hilton community watch groups saw residents sharing information on the whereabouts of the two burglars as they hopped from property to property.

One message read that intruders were going “back and forth” between roads in Hilton and through gardens while another resident sent a voice note asking for help.

Through the WhatsApp messages, private security companies were alerted and set out on patrols while anxious Hilton residents listened for any suspicious activity in the area.

The burglars’ break-in spree came to an abrupt end, however, when they fell into a resident’s swimming pool as they fled. The homeowner, who asked not to be named, said he was alerted by a neighbour who had heard whispering coming from his yard.

The neighbour shone his torch into the garden and they saw an intruder hiding behind a car.

He said his neighbour shouted for the man to get down on his knees and when the man did not listen, he fired a warning shot into the ground.

He said he then saw two men running across his property. “It was dark and they could not see where they were going and they fell straight into the pool,” he said with a laugh.

“They climbed out of the pool and over our gate. When our security company arrived, they found the stolen TV and HiFi lying in our yard.”

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said police, community members and private security companies were all out hunting for the suspects during and after the break-ins. He said one case of housebreaking had been reported to the Hilton police and that they were searching for two men.

Ngobese said no arrests had been made and investigations were ongoing.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  house robberies

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