Robberies hit the Claremont area

TAURIQ HASSEN

The condition of an elderly couple from Claremont who were attacked in their Washintgon Street home last week, has been described as “serious but stable” .

On Thursday February 11, two men gained access through a sliding door they had managed to force open with a crowbar before coming into contact with their first victim, 70-year-old Carol Hodgson, who was in the lounge at the time.

Spokesperson for the Wynberg police cluster, Captain Angie Latchman, said the two men then dragged Ms Hodgson to her bedroom and upon hearing the commotion, her husband, Brian, awoke.

“The suspects ordered the victims to keep quiet, however both the elderly victim started screaming which resulted in the suspects severely assaulting them with a hammer,” she said.

The intruders’ next target was the domestic worker, who was also assaulted. “Initial investigations at the scene have established that the suspects gained entry into the house by forcing open the sliding door, that leads to the lounge, with a crow bar,” Captain Latchman said.

She added, however, that there is no “crow bar gang”. It is instead, a method of housebreaking used by a number of criminals.

Captain Latchman said the intruders got away with a flat screen television. No arrests have been made.

“The elderly couple have since been taken to hospital for treatment and their conditions have been described as serious but stable,” she said.

Police issued the following safety tips:

* Install a good security system.

* Install security gates and burglar bars.

* Know all emergency numbers.

* Do not leave keys on a gate or lock.

* The locks on the outside doors should always be changed when you move into a new home or after keys have been stolen or lost.

* Make provision for good outside lighting.

Use lighting to your advantage:

* Lights that are on inside while it is a dark outside puts you at a disadvantage. Lights that are on outside when it is dark inside allows you to observe what is going on without you being seen.

* Mail left on the gate unattended is a sign that nobody is home. Get a friend or neighbour to pick up your mail when you’re away.

* Curtains should always be closed after dark to prevent suspects from observing the activities inside the home.

* Never leave workers or contractors unattended to in your home.

* Conduct thorough background checks before employing anyone (permanent or casual). Request their IDs and make a copy. Check out their references.

* Be careful what is discussed in front of staff.

* Do not leave your garage, front or back door open or partially open – it serves as an invitation to burglars.

* Inform the police of any suspicious person or vehicles who you consider to be a threat.

* Armed robbers hit Trigg Jewellers in Cavendish Square shopping centre for the second time in the space of a year.

On Sunday February 14, around 11.23am, four men, one of whom was armed with a firearm, entered the jewellery store and held up the staff and customers at gunpoint, ordering them to be quiet.

“The suspects then smashed display cases and removed several items of jewellery before fleeing from the scene in a getaway vehicle, a white Nissan Micra, bearing registration number DL 86FK GP,” Captain Latchman said.

She further confirmed that it has since been discovered that the plates were false and no arrests have been made.

Jeremy Jackson of Trigg Jewellers said the matter was currently being investigated by police and that no injuries had been sustained during the incident inside the store.

“”We’re very fortunate as our well-trained team activated our security measures which protected our customers and limited our loss. Their quick response to the situation saved the day, although the offenders did get away with a few luxury watch brands.

“The duration of the smash-and-grab was less than 15 seconds,” Mr Jackson said.

“We can assure customers that their goods are safe and we take every precaution to ensure they’re not exposed to any criminal activity. We’ve already met with Cavendish Square centre management as well as the security company to put additional measures in place,” Mr Jackson said.

He added among the new security measures being introduced at the store is the installation of a specially built gate this week.

“Sadly, the gate was commissioned and installed last year, but had to be removed due to an engineering issue. All problems have now been ironed out and the new gate will add to the safety of our staff and customers,” Mr Jackson said.

Police are urging anyone with information about the above two incidents or the identity and whereabouts of the suspects to contact the investigating officer at Claremont police station, Detective Captain Ashley Naidoo on 021 657 2253 or Crime Stop on 086 001 0111.