Amil Umraw
5 minute read
22 Dec 2016

Robbery ordeal for brothers

Amil Umraw

A young man and his teenage brother described their horror ordeal when armed robbers broke into their Hilton home early on Wednesday morning.

A young man and his teenage brother described their horror ordeal when armed robbers broke into their Hilton home early on Wednesday morning.

Hayden (20) and his 15-year-old brother, Warick, were bound, gagged and held at gunpoint while a gang of about five robbers ransacked their home near Azalea Drive. The ordeal lasted for almost an hour.

Less than two hours after the robbery, the gang were tracked to the Pietermaritzburg city centre where they opened fire on the police officers who were chasing them, resulting in a fiery gunbattle that left one robber injured.

The brothers, who live in one of the buildings on their family’s plot in Hilton, on Wednesday told The Witness they are still shaken up. They both have scars on their arms and legs from the attack.

At about 1 am on Wednesday, while they were sound asleep, Hayden said he was woken by the “loud thumping” of people running outside the house. He said the men were shouting at each other and one was even “growling like a wild animal”.

“At first I thought it was a ghost or something. But when I opened my eyes, I saw these men standing above me, leaning in to grab me,” Hayden said.

Hayden started kicking frantically, knocking one of the robbers to the floor. When he got to his feet, one of the intruders allegedly attacked him with a knife. “I swear the knife was longer than a ruler. He was swinging it in a slashing motion towards me.”

Submitting to his attacker, Hayden said he threw Warick out of harm’s way and fell to the floor, yelling that he was sorry. “I told them to take whatever they want and just not kill us. They put us face-down on the bed and tied our hands behind our backs with a thick yellow cable. They then put a blanket over us so we could not see what was happening,” Hayden said, pointing to the long gash on his leg where he was stabbed by the knifeman.

Warick said one robber waited behind in the room, leaning over them on the bed, while his accomplices ransacked the house. Although they were shaking in fear, the brothers remained calm and managed to remember the personalities of their attackers — one of whom they described as “decent” and the other as “crazy”.

Hayden said the “decent” robber tried to console the brothers.

“He said he did not want to do this [commit the robbery] and he understood that I wanted to protect my younger brother. He also detailed their plan, saying they would leave my car at the Life Hilton hospital and I could fetch it from there,” Hayden said.

But then the “crazy” robber entered the room again. “His breathing was heavy, almost like he had the flu. He was screaming that he would shoot us and that nobody would find him afterwards.”

At one point, the robber held a gun to Hayden’s head.

“It was the scariest thing. They had us in an execution position. We kept waiting for a knife to come through the blanket or a gunshot.”

The robbers started Hayden’s VW Polo, which was parked outside the house, and made roundabout trips back and forth as they packed almost everything from inside the house into the car.

“Every time we heard them go out, we thought it was over. Then they would come back in,” Warick said.

Before the robbers left, one told Hayden that he would see them again last night. The men sped off in Hayden’s car and a few minutes after they left, the brothers managed to free themselves, counted to three, and dashed out towards the main house where their parents were still asleep.

At the house on Wednesday, it was evident that almost everything that could fit in the car had been taken. The only things remaining were furniture, bedding and small household goods. Warick said the robbers even ate their food.

The brothers both agreed they were happy to have escaped relatively unscathed.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said the robbers offloaded the stolen goods at a house in the France township before making their way into the Pietermaritzburg CBD.

Ngobese said police began circulating details of the vehicle minutes after the robbery and a team of K9 unit officers and Pietermaritzburg detectives began the hunt.

The officers spotted the robbers on Hoosen Haffejee Street and when they approached the stolen vehicle, the gang allegedly opened fire. A firefight ensued and one robber was shot while his accomplices fled. The man was taken to hospital and is currently under arrest.

Ngobese said the car as well as the items stolen from the house were recovered.

“We are still on the hunt for the remaining suspects,” he said.

Woman hurt with screwdriver

A Howick woman was assaulted with a screwdriver when her house at the Hillview complex was broken into late on Monday night.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Captain Gay Ebrahim said four men, one who was carrying a screwdriver, broke into the woman’s home at around 10 pm on Monday.

The woman was injured on her ear with the screwdriver before the four men escaped with her cellphone, cash and her handbag.

No arrests have been made at this stage and the investigation is ongoing