2007-01-15 : 'Professional' robbers bust up family braai

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2007-01-15 : 'Professional' robbers bust up family braai

Postby GOSA » Wed, 2007-01-17 10:55


'Professional' robbers bust up family braai
Hanti Otto
January 15 2007 at 04:49AM

A farewell braai in Elardus Park turned into a nightmare for the 11 guests after four men armed with a pistol and rocks burst in on the gathering.

The robbers had entered Francois du Toit's property from the Delmas Road after removing a slab of the concrete wall and slipping under the electrical wires.

Guest Louis Oberholzer was struck several times on the head with a rock and was admitted to the intensive care unit of Kloof Hospital. His condition is stable.

The four men, telling everyone they were Zimbabweans - but speaking in both English and Afrikaans - made the 11 obey them by hitting them over their heads, shoving them around and kicking them. Not even 65-year-old Rina du Toit was spared.

'The robbers looked so self-assured'
Du Toit said he thought his time had come when one of the robbers held the pistol to his head.

"I thought: 'Cheers, Francois, you are now going to the Big Boss in heaven'," he said.

"These guys are pros, unlike the Lyttelton police. The detective arrived in shorts and slops. He didn't even take the takkies (that) a robber left and the stones. The police photographer didn't come. At least the fingerprint girl was very nice," he said.

Saturday night's attack is the latest in a spate of violent crimes to hit Elardus Park in recent months.

In October, Chris Herbst was shot in the face and stabbed several times in the back and neck while fighting two thugs trying to rape his 12-year-old daughter and kill his six-year-old son.

'They hit Louis over the head with a rock'
That same month, three schoolboys were tied up and bundled into cupboards after five armed men stormed into their Alouette Street home.

Vana Pillay and his family were attacked by three men in their home while they were celebrating Diwali.

The robbers, who threatened to slit a crying baby's throat, fled with cellphones, jewellery and money.

The family had to call the police several times to come to their house to take their statements, Pillay said.

There have been many other cases where home owners have been beaten and pistol whipped by attackers who demand access to safes and make off with valuables.

Kobus Gous, of the sector four Lyttelton policing forum, said he was concerned by what he read in newspapers and what he heard from residents.

"I am worried because people got injured - next time someone might get killed," he said. However, police say there has been no increase in house robberies in the area.

In the latest incident, Du Toit was holding a farewell braai for his sister, Michelle du Toit, who was due to return to England on Monday. His property is secured by high walls with electric fencing and with several well-built men among the guests, they felt if was safe to sit in the double garage with the doors open.

Michelle said: "Within seconds, the four men were among us. The robbers looked so self-assured. They hit Louis over the head with a rock. He fell down unconscious," she said.

She said they all sat stunned. The robbers walked to each one, hitting them over the head and pushing them to the ground with the order to "sleep".

"One kicked me in the back when I didn't react fast enough," she said.

Desiré Oberholzer said her husband regained consciousness at one point and sat up. The robbers hit him again four times with the rock.

"There was blood everywhere," Oberholzer said.

Du Toit was walking to the garage when a man put a pistol to his head.

"Everyone was lying on the garage floor. They threw me and my mother to the ground. Then they asked who the owner of the house was. I raised my hand. They wanted the keys to the safe," he said.

Du Toit went to his bedroom where a friend's six-year-old daughter was asleep there.

"I begged them to please let her sleep. While they pressed the pistol to my temple, I opened the safe and they took two pistols and cash," he said.

The three robbers in the garage tied up most of the guests, taking cellphones and jewellery.

One of the robbers took off his takkies and replaced them with the slops Du Toit's brother, Emile, was wearing. He left the takkies behind.

The friends managed to release each other. Louis regained consciousness, but could not remember a thing. His sinus cavities were fractured, he suffered a skull fracture, has bleeding on the brain and an ear drum is damaged.

Du Toit said: "We were several big guys, brave guys, but when one sees that gun, you 'sleep' when they tell you to. I am fed-up with this crime. When will someone do something?"

o This article was originally published on page 1 of Pretoria News on January 15, 2007
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