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27 March 2012 at 13:31 - Posted by Anonymous

A life threatening experience from Hell


A detailed account of a terrifying encounter with crime that a family went through in Cape Town. Published here to share some personal advice from a family who luckily made it through without a tragedy.

At Turn It Around we believe we all need to become one another's safety zones - we need to share information and watch out for each other. Know your neighbour and look out for them and ask them to do the same. 

Note that there have been three such incidents that have happened in the same Cape Town suburb in the last 10 days. This incident happened on 14th of March 2012.

Names have been changed to protect identities.


To all our friends and colleagues

I’m sharing this terrible experience with you because if anything positive may be derived from it, it is the frightening lesson that we have learnt from dropping one’s guard. 

Last night I was working at my office until about 10.30pm, my Son Peter was working next door in his studio and was just about to lock up and head back to our home. 

I packed up my things and locked up the office, got into my car to discover that my car fuel was almost empty. I then proceeded to go to the Caltex garage on route to home. I filled up and went into the store to buy something. I was extremely tired and half asleep. I got back in my car and proceeded home. At my gate, I would normally stop, open the gate, and the garage door, look and then drive in. I wasn’t very vigilant in checking the area for any suspicious movement before driving into the garage which was in complete darkness. As I got out of my car I was confronted by four armed black intruders dressed in dark clothing. There were another two at the gate. Simultaneously they all cocked their guns and then the nightmare began. 

“Don’t look at me I’ll shoot you was the clear message delivered in a low whisper” 

“ Give me your cell phone and your car keys” 
I immediately obeyed. 

“ What is your name” 
Jack I said, “please don’t hurt us take what you want “ 
“Don’t look at me I’ll shoot you do you understand?” 

By this stage my pulse was racing and my adrenalin was pumping. This was it I’m going to meet my creator.

In a low whisper “Who else is in the house?”
“My wife  Claire and my dog  Minnie” 

“we’ll take care of the dog, take us straight to  Claire now!!” 

With one on either side of me with a cocked gun at my head I proceeded to take them upstairs to our bedroom where  Claire was asleep.

We walked straight past our dog who immediately sensed that there was something very wrong. She didn’t move she stayed right in her place by the downstairs bathroom door. Not a movement, not a growl, she held her breath in fear of what was to come.

I pleaded with them” Don’t hurt us just take whatever you want don’t ...” 

“Shoo.. keep quite” was his response in a very stern whisper as we reached the upstairs landing and walked into our bedroom.

The second guy immediately focused on Claire, who awake from a deep sleep to be staring down the barrel of a gun”

“Claire, Don’t look at me look away”

“Jack lie down on the bed face down don’t look at me” Always talking to me in a stern whisper in clear English.

“If you don’t do what we want we will shoot you” 
My greatest fear at this point was that  Claire would start screaming, she was completely startled and shocked by the situation.

“Where is the Safe, where is the money, the jewellery, your laptop come we want it all”

“Please I beg you just take whatever you want and leave, we don’t have a laptop here, or cameras and I have already given you all my money.” I had handed over my wallet which contained close to R5000-00 in it for my Thursday trip to KZN.

“Claire where is your cell phone and your jewellery, quick else I’ll shoot you”

By this stage I was praying like I have never prayed before. There was nothing I could do to protect my wife and I was scared of what they might do to her.

“My bag is downstairs in the office, it has my car keys and my money, here this is the only jewellery I have on me”

The intruder covering  Claire started pulling off her jewellery and instructed her to remove her earrings.

The third intruder left the room and went downstairs to the office and returned shortly. He proceed to open all the cupboards and draws looking for money and jewellery. He finds a small bag of jewellery in the top cupboard. At this point he turn his attention to removing the Sony TV attached to the wall. He battles a bit.... 

While he is busy I’m pleading please take whatever and just leave us don’t hurt us. By this staging I’m distraught, I’m thinking that they are going to shoot us and I’m thinking  Peter is about to walk in on all of this. Please God let this nightmare stop!!!

“Jack where is the safe, where is the money come on I know there is lot’s of money here, tell me else we will Shoot you?”

“I promise you there is no money, take what you want, please I beg you don’t hurt us”

“Where are your credit cards, tell me what is your pin number don’t lie to me because I will shoot you?

“I can’t remember, I promise you I can’t remember” 
“Claire tell them your credit card number” 
“Don’t look at me Look down” We won’t hurt you if...”

A cell phone rings and the third intruder talks in a black language. The two in the room with us talk to each other in their language.

The third intruder frees the TV from the wall bracket and leaves the room with a bag full of stuff they have removed from our draws and cupboards.

The one with the gun at my head whispers to me” do what we tell you and we won’t hurt you. You need to understand I don’t have a job I do this to put food in my stomach....” almost as if he was trying to apologise to us for putting us through this nightmare. 

“Get up and don’t look at me, go to the next room...” 

“We leave our room looking away from our intruders begging for mercy...” 

“Lie on the ground face down, don’t look at me....”We are going to the ATM to draw money if your pin code is wrong we’ll come back and shoot you”

My heart is pounding, my mouth is dry and all of a sudden I’m cold and my mind is fixed that this is the end. I’m preying ‘Please God let it be quick and don’t let  Peter walk in, Please God, please.....”

The intruder says “ we are going to get the money we will be back, don’t look at me lie on the floor don’t look at me...” 

The intruder leaves the room and locks the door. I look out the window and see the fifth intruder at our gate standing guard, there is a vehicle reversed in our drive way and he see’s me looking at him.

The next minute we hear feet running up the stairs the intruder unlocks the door and says I’m going to shoot you if you look at us, my man outside saw you looking at him” He closes the blinds and leaves the room locking the door behind him” There is a screech of wheels on the bricks as they drive off.

I lift the blind and peak out to see if they are still there. 

“Jack don’t look, they hurt us, please lie down.” I continue to peek on my knees preying that they have gone.

There is no movement outside and this twenty minute nightmare reaches a still before the storm. What do I do, we are locked in the room, are they coming back, is there someone downstairs.

“Claire I’m going to jump out of the window I can break down the door” “ Don’t you will hurt yourself, Please!!!”

I go to the window and shout” Help, please somebody help, we have been held up, please help there are intruders in our house, help please help!!!” 

The neighbour next door presses their panic button, the neighbour across the way, presses their panic button. Before you know it the whole street are pressing their panic buttons and the still of the storm breaks into an adrenalin rush, what seemed to be a lifetime before the first help arrived was shattered by the first ADT vehicle and cop car arriving.

Truthfully the ADT guard didn’t know what to do. I shouted at him from the window they are still maybe in the house please break the door down. He tried to bash our front door in without success. I then shouted to him to break in our side door at that point the police arrived. The next thing our door opened with two gun pointing cops asking are you alright.

Within seconds the Warrant officer arrived and asked me ”How many, what vehicle, what registration number and does your vehicle have a tracker?”

To all these question our minds drew a blank. I could not recall my ID number, or my registration number I could remember nothing. The shock had set in and my pulse was over the limit, i thought I was about to have a heart attack.

Claire phoned a friend who immediately called our kids. At this point  Peter arrived home to be confronted with a squad of police and ADT vehicles. The front gate was open and the whole area cordoned off as a crime scene. Can you imagine what went through his mind when he saw this commotion outside his house.

The only thought was call a friend, I phone  Craig and woke him from a deep sleep. He was there like a flash and thank God, he just took over.

I walked outside to a sea of onlookers all dressed in their PJ’s. The neighbour across the road came over to me and shook my hand, how are you? I didn’t know his name. What was he expecting me to say? So I said I’m fine thank you nice to meet you how are you?

What followed after that was a wade of intrusion of Police and Captains all asking questions and taking statements. The crime scene investigation team step in and started their routine of taking pictures and fingerprints.

Our kids arrived and that was like a flood of relief. They became the parents taking care of us.

To say the least through it all the Warrant office had managed to activate the tracker in my car using my ID number. 15 minutes later they traced it around the corner. Where they had transferred our belongings to the getaway vehicle.

10 minutes later we established that they tried to access our bank cards at a nearby ATM. What followed was quite a cop story just like a CSI NYPD series.

Clearly after reaching our senses it was quickly established that they had taken both our TV’s, money,  Claire’s handbag with all her Life and our Kitchen kettle. Why the kettle I don’t know.

Our house was turned upside down. The last cop left our house at 3am in the morning. After the locksmith had replaced all our gate and door locks a couple of Thousand rands later.

Our Kids where fantastic and a very special thank you to our friends, Craig and Michelle who stayed with us most of the night.

At 4am we both collapsed into bed startled, shaken and very grateful to still be alive to tell the story. We both lay awake have a nightmare and thinking.. 

What if Peter had come home during the ordeal? 

What if Minnie had lost her cool and attacked? She didn’t in fact after everything had settled she had her own panic attack, you could see she was completely devastated by this incident.

So why am I telling you all of this ? What was my lesson? 

   1. If you have to come home late phone home and make sure your spouse is aware when you are coming home so that she is able to watch the gate.

2. Always survey the road and surrounding area before opening your gate of trying to enter your property. Better still phone your armed response company to meet you at the gate.

3. If ever you are in this situation try to stay calm, don’t try to be a hero. 

4. Don’t look at the intruder this works him up.

5. Have a small stash of your crap jewellery in a little bag that they can find.

6. Do exactly what they say you must do.

7. Be submissive don’t argue with them.

8. Keep yourself and your partner calm.

9. Pray for the nightmare to end.

10. Compile a list of the following and keep it where you know you will find it:
a)  All your credit card numbers and the contact numbers of lost and stolen card division.
b) Your tracker number and the contact numbers 
c) Your cell phone numbers, puck number and serial number. If you have a blackberry record the BBM pin number. This is a critical tracking number. 
d) Your ID number
e) Your medical aid number
f) A number of a close friend who lives nearby
g) Your neighbours’ numbers and make sure you know them.
h) Organise a neighbourhood phone list and security protocol. 
i) The phone numbers of your armed response company, police and emergency services.

11. Don’t keep a firearm on the premises.

12. Make sure that your safe is well concealed, have the key and combination number handy in case you have to hand it over. Do not resist.

13. Do not antagonise the intruder, he can and will kill you.   

We woke up this morning completely dazed feeling violated and stripped happy to be alive and grateful to our creator for sparing our kids the fear and hopelessness of this scary ordeal. We are very grateful to all of our friends and family who have rally around us to support us through this nightmare.

Please take care and never ever let your guard down life is too precious and short to take for granted . i don’t have cellphone, I don’t have a wallet but I do have my life and we weren’t hurt.

Kind regards
Cape Town

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