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Two house robberies on same day

Dalpark and Leachville families robbed at gunpoint in their homes.

Two house robberies were committed within minutes of each other in Brakpan last Friday afternoon.

According to local police, the first robbery took place at a home along Lawrence Road in Dalpark at 12:26 and the second at a residence on Blesbok Avenue in Leachville at 12:45.

The Lawrence Street resident was outside when he was accosted by a man with a gun. The gunman instructed him to lie on the ground and wanted to know how many people were inside the house.

An unknown number of accomplices who entered the home and threatened the man’s family at gunpoint then joined the intruder.

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The robbers fled with cellphones, bank cards, laptops and other goods with a combined value of R200 000.

Less than 20 minutes later, a Leachville family were terrorised when robbers stormed into their home. With at least one of them armed with a gun, the robbers instructed the family to sit down and stay calm.

They demanded jewellery and searched the house. The robbers took two handbags, a laptop, an iPhone, jewellery, ID documents and a wallet containing a driver’s licence and bank cards.

The value of the stolen goods is R150 000. The four robbers made their getaway in a blue Toyota Etios. Both cases are under investigation by Brakpan SAPS.

Residents can play an important part in preventing home robberies by taking simple, precautionary measures:
• Know all emergency numbers.

• Don’t leave your gates, garage, front or back door open or partially open. Windows, especially those facing the street, should be closed, even during warm weather.

• Never open the door automatically whenever the bell rings or if someone knocks. Robbers who act as delivery men, repairmen, electricians, plumbers, TV licence or municipality inspectors and many other professions often approach domestic workers, garden staff and children.

To gain entrance, robbers use a cellphone and make it as if they are talking to the owner of the house to put pressure on unsuspecting victims to open the gate or door. Those remaining at home should be made aware of these scams.

Arrange with people who remain at home on how you will inform them if you need them to open the house for deliveries, maintenance work or repairs.

Always use the same procedure and inform the companies involved that they will not gain access unless you have specifically arranged.

• A dog is a good early warning system, especially small dogs kept inside the house at night. Large dogs should be visible as a deterrent but beyond the reach of strangers. The unexplainable death of a dog is a warning sign of possible burglary or robbery.

• If your house alarm goes off or you hear strange noises or your dog’s bark, switch on the outside lights.

• Always check the identity of strangers who visit for business purposes to do deliveries or repairs. Ensure you stay out of their reach to prevent being grabbed through a closed gate.

• When employing someone, request their identity document and make a copy thereof for safekeeping. Check their previous employment references and do security clearances at the police.

• Instal the best security you can afford, especially security gates on outside doors. Keep these gates locked. If possible, fix a door viewer and latch chain.

• When approaching your house entrance by foot or by car, ensure it is safe to enter and that you have not been followed. Be aware of persons loitering at the entrance.

Do not leave keys in a hidden place for domestic staff or children, robbers often stake out a house and will find out about these hiding places. Do not give keys to people who do not live on the property or to anyone if it is unnecessary.

• Know your neighbours and build a relationship of mutual trust and support. When going away, inform them.

• It is always best to arrange with persons living in the same street as you to be ready at all times to come to the rescue of one another in dangerous or suspicious times. Exchange phone numbers or signalling methods when you find yourself in distress. Your strength always lies in how many people can support you in an emergency.

• If you buy luxury goods, cut up the boxes and dispose of these in tied black bags — a branded box is a telltale sign of what robbers could find in your house.

• Keep cash and valuables in banks or safes.

• Store your firearms in a safe. Suspicious-looking people, vehicles and activities must be reported to the police immediately. For emergencies or to report a crime, call 10111 or the Brakpan Police Station on 011 744 7100.

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