Caretaker tells burglars to shovel off

St Patricks Catholic Church caretaker Basil Sias stands at the security gate which five robbers broke open using a crowbar.

A plucky caretaker sent five crowbar-gang burglars packing after they broke into church recreation centre in Mowbray.

Police later arrested five men in connection with the break-in.

Basil Sias, 69, says he was at the St Patrick’s Catholic Church centre, opposite the church in Langton Road, when the five men broke through the front door at 2.30pm on Tuesday September 10.

The men wore dark shirts and jeans and one wore black gloves while another had a green crowbar which he had used to break through the security gate and front door.

When Mr Sias saw the men, he grabbed a spade and chased them out of the house using the flat part of the spade. When one of the intruders tried to confront Mr Sias, the no-nonsense caretaker hit him on the leg with the spade.

Mr Sias slipped and sprained his ankle as he chased the burglars, but he was able to call the Mowbray police and give them a description of the intruders.

A neighbour’s CCTV security cameras recorded footage of the intruders and their car, a silver Toyota Avanza.

Acting Mowbray police station commander Captain Ansley Jacobs said Flying Squad officers had apprehended five suspects later that same day.

“A general police broadcast of the suspected vehicle was made which led to the Flying Squad making their arrests,” said Captain Jacobs.

Mowbray Community Policing Forum chairman Jonathan Hobday praised Mr Sias for his courage.

“Basil is a hero, and we are delighted that this gang has been caught and pleased that he has emerged unscathed,” he said.

All the suspects have been charged with attempted housebreaking and appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday September 12.