Two separate house robberies took place in the space of five hours in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.
The latest incident happened at 8.30pm when five people were sitting in the lounge of their Gomery Place, Summerstrand, student commune.
Police spokeswoman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said two suspects, one with a firearm, had confronted the five students while they were watching television.
“The front door was closed but unlocked. Once inside, one of the suspects pulled out a firearm and held the students at gunpoint.
“They demanded cellphones and took a laptop that was lying around, then walked off” she said.
The Summerstrand robbery came just hours after a house robbery in Karisma Townhouse Complex at the corner of Ralston and Tas Street in Fernglen.
A group of three men entered the complex.
“A 69-year-old grandmother had arrived home with her teenaged granddaughter shortly before the robbery,” Naidu said.
“They were inside the house when the grandmother heard a knock at the door. Before she could answer it the door was kicked open.
“Three men entered the home. The two females were held at knife-point while the suspects stole their cellphones and laptop. They then fled in a vehicle with which they had managed to gain entry to the complex.”
Naidu said that a new trend had emerged in townhouse burglaries. “We have noticed in recent months that the majority of townhouses targeted by criminals either have no security gates or no burglar bars – in some instances, no alarms either.”
“We urge residents living in townhouses to ensure that the main gate closes behind them before driving off and that the gate codes are often changed.
“There are instances where it has been noticed that the gate codes are given to staff and friends. This information is in some cases disseminated to criminals.”
Two cases of house robbery are under investigation.