With a sudden spate of armed robberies happening in Knysna, Sedgefield, and Wilderness, it is suspected that an out-of-town ‘crime syndicate’ is working in the area. Residents are being warned to be extra-vigilant, and report any out of the ordinary sightings of vehicles in and around local suburbs.
On Monday 30 September an elderly Sedgefield man was accosted in his own home just after midnight, after perpetrators bent palisade fencing to access the security complex where he lives. It was fortunate that his wife was away at the time.
The victim (name withheld), whose home is in the Aviemore gated village on the Northern side of the national highway, had reportedly just finished showering when he came face to face with three men in his home. They had come through his unlocked back door.
He described them as all of small build and wearing balaclavas. At least one was armed with a gun and another was brandishing a dangerous-looking metal object.
After they threatened that there would be big trouble should he choose not to cooperate, he allowed them to tie him up and lock him in his bedroom. Then they began ransacking his house.
Up until that time he had not been hurt, so the man did everything he could to free himself, hoping to get away before they came back into the room. Eventually, he managed, to climb out through a small window and rush to a neighbour’s home.
After calling the police, the man and his neighbour went back to his house and, once they had made doubly sure the perpetrators were no longer around, they went inside.
The victim discovered that the perpetrators had stolen his phone, his wife’s jewelry and a lot of clothing. They had attempted to remove his television from the wall bracket, but failed to do so.
When the police arrived – reportedly hours later – their investigation led them to a place where the perpetrators had entered by bending the metal palisade fence on the railway side of the property, some way away from the homes.
Wilderness has also been hit by a spate of crime over the weekend. According to one security group there were four properties hit in one night, these included Langvlei Dunes, Kingfisher Close, Constantia kloof and North Street.
Whilst we await confirmation from SAPS it has been reported that in the Langvlei Dune incident the homeowner was attacked and ended up in hospital with serious injuries, including a very badly damaged eye.
In the North Street robbery five armed men reportedly entered a B&B and, after waking up the guests, tied them up with electric cords before making off with their belongings.
Fortunately, the guests were not harmed, but will no doubt have been traumatised by this experience in the usually low-crime Garden Route area.
Michael Simon of Sedgefield’s Community Orientated Policing (COP) says that three similar robberies had happened in Knysna over the last few weeks, and he had feared that Sedgefield and Wilderness might be hit. He believes that now more than ever is the time to be pro-active.
“We just have to stop thinking that it will never happen to us. We have to be more vigilant and report anything out of the ordinary to the various neighbourhood watches and security groups – especially if we see foreign cars ‘cruising’ our streets,” he said. “Keep doors locked, even if you are in the house and awake, even during the day. Just take any extra precaution that will make you less vulnerable.”