Town rocked by violent crime

The quiet area of Laersdrift was turned into a war zone when a gang of heavily armed men opened fire on a farmer and one of his workers on Tuesday morning.

Although still stunned by the attack, of which the motive is feared to have been murder rather than robbery, the drastic action and large number of farmers on the scene sent out a strong message: They will fight back!

Two robbers were injured with gunshot wounds, and a total of five suspects tracked down and arrested on the day in question.

Strangers became friends after searching tirelessly, right through the night on Tuesday, to track down the gang who fled into the veld after a second shootout on a gravel road.

Heavily armed men, some clad in bulletproof vests, crisscrossed the area with air support from two helicopters. More than a hundred farmers arrived to offer assistance.

How Hans Jurgens du Toit managed to survive the ordeal unscathed, is a miracle. Many people on the scene saw it as an act of God. One would be inclined to agree, taking into consideration that at least seven armed men opened fire on him at the same time.

•The incident is not isolated. On Friday, a man was shot and killed at his house in Wes Street. Several armed robberies took place in and around Middelburg.

•No one was hurt when armed men entered Burger King at the Middelburg Mall on Sunday night.

•A woman was raped during a house robbery in Dennesig on Wednesday.

•Numerous other break-ins were reported during the same day.

Damage worth an estimated R150 000 was caused when thieves entered the Pienaar Bros premises in the industrial area on Tuesday night. Branch Manager Louis Uys said that they stole money, safety clothing such as gloves and left with the CCTV camera system’s hard drive. Police took an hour and a half to get to the scene.

Jana Boshoff

Award-winning community news journalist with over a decade's newsroom experience. Passionate about hard-hitting news stories!
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