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14 December 2011 at 16:04 - Posted by Anonymous

Residents live in fear after spate of attacks


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The Durbanville Community Forum says residents are angry and worried after a string of house robberies in the area, the latest of which ended in the fatal shooting of a 74-year-old man.

On Tuesday morning, Ronald Bertz was shot in the chest by a robber who broke into his daughter’s home with two accomplices.

Provincial police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel André Traut said the robbers had entered the house via the patio just after 7am, through a door that had been unlocked “only minutes before”.

Upon entering, he said, the three men confronted Bertz’s 45-year-old daughter.

When the robbers went upstairs, Bertz came “face-to-face” with one of the robbers and was shot.

He died soon afterwards, and the robbers fled the scene in a white bakkie with “an undisclosed amount of cash”, Traut said.

Bertz’s wife, his daughter’s mother-in-law and his two young grandchildren were also in the house at the time of the attack.

The community forum’s deputy chairman, George Sieraha, said he believed homes in Durbanville were “under attack” by armed gangs targeting the area.

When the Cape Argus arrived at the Constantia Close home Tuesday afternoon, the family had taken refuge at their neighbour’s house while police and a forensic team investigated the scene.

The homeowner, who police said was at home at the time of the attack, ushered his visibly traumatised wife and two children inside and pleaded that they be left alone, declining to give any information about the incident.

Other neighbours also refused to speak.

Sieraha said residents feared for their safety and were angry that their homes were frequently being invaded by “relentless” thieves.

“These attacks on households are very serious incidents. People are being held at knifepoint and the level of violence involved is unacceptable.

“Residents are angry and unhappy about their lives being endangered,” he said.

Sieraha said there were three incidents last week.

In one, a father with six children had to defend himself when two men, armed with knives, tried to break in to his house.

In another incident, he said, a woman’s mother-in-law had a knife held to her throat by robbers, while the woman escaped with her three-year-old child and, in the third, a woman and her two sons managed to scare away robbers who were trying to enter their house through the front door.

The police could not confirm the details of these incidents.

Sieraha said that although residents had to be extra vigilant, the ultimate responsibility to ensure their safety remained with the police.

Forum chairman Glen Schooling said there had been a “very large” number of house robberies during the past few months.

“This one was definitely the worst because there hasn’t been another in which a life was lost,” he said.

Schooling said these crimes were “very traumatic” for residents and the community was not pleased.

“We’re keeping tabs on it and will definitely follow up these incidents.

“We feed information through to neighbourhood watches, but caution that individuals remain alert and secure their premises,” he said.

No arrests have been made yet in connection with yesterday’s attack.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stop on 086 001 0111.

janis.kinnear@inl.co.za - Cape Argus

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