PE family in long robbery ordeal

CRIME SCENE: The car that rammed into the wall Picture: EUGENE COETZEE
CRIME SCENE: The car that rammed into the wall

Baby, mom and dad held for two hours by gang

A gang of brazen robbers held a young couple and their baby hostage inside their Lorraine townhouse before trying to steal their car, but instead reversing the vehicle into a neighbour’s wall.

The incident was one of at least four robberies and burglaries in Port Elizabeth in just 24 hours.

A survey last year revealed that house robberies – where people are threatened and held hostage inside their homes – were among the top crimes feared by most South Africans.

The ransacked bedroom Picture: EUGENE COETZEE
The ransacked bedroom

Recent figures show that 722 house robberies – almost three a day – were committed between April last year and March this year in Nelson Mandela Bay alone.

At about 2am yesterday, the young couple and their five-month-old baby were held hostage for two hours inside their Marne Avenue, Lorraine, home by a gang of six robbers.

“They came into the house by taking out the window pane and climbing inside,” the 34-year-old father, who did not want to be named over fears for his safety, said. “I woke up and the guy was in the bedroom with a screwdriver to my neck.

“My fiancée was next to me and she kept our baby safe and calm while they ransacked the house.”

The robber said that he would stab the father if he resisted. The man said the robber told him: “Don’t worry. Keep calm and nothing will happen, this is my job.”

Within seconds, five other men entered with torches.

“They spent almost two hours inside ransacking the house. Everything is turned upside down. They even stole my beers and half-a-litre of milk,” he said.

“They were organised and forced me to give the alarm code so they could open the doors to get into the garage to the cars.”

The robbers loaded big-screen televisions and other items into the car before reversing it into the perimeter wall while trying to escape.

“They also pulled the wires out of the alarm box to cut the power. When that happened, the panic alarm activated which is when they got into my car to escape.”

“While trying to get away, they reversed into the wall. The next thing an Isuzu bakkie pulled up and they sped out of the complex.”

It remains unclear how the suspects got into the complex, but they managed to escape by stealing the driveway gate remote.

“It is really a horrible thing to happen to anyone. There is not much you can do while they basically tear your house apart,” the man said.

At about the same time, a townhouse in Verdun Road, about 800m from Marne Avenue, was also ransacked.

A third burglary took place at the Port Elizabeth Mental Health premises in William Street, Cotswold.

In an incident at midday, a 20-yearold woman managed to hide under the bed when two men broke into her Greenshields Park home.

Police spokesman Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said only the Marne Avenue complex robbery had been opened as a house robbery while the other three were considered burglaries as there had been no threats.

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