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A gang of thieves dubbed the “Follow-Home” gang have struck in the Southern Suburbs.
The group, also known as the “Polite Gang”, comprises about four house robbers who have been described as well-spoken, nicely dressed and very polite.
They have been known for putting their victims in their bathrooms before ransacking their homes and making off in their cars.
The gang’s modus operandi is not new; similar robberies have reportedly occurred in some of the city’s wealthiest suburbs in the past.
The gang were last heard of targeting residents in Constantia and surrounding areas.
Regarding the latest emergence of the gang, police said investigations indicated that the modus operandi in the cases was not the same.
Provincial police spokesman Captain Frederick van Wyk said some of the victims were confronted on arriving home by suspects already inside.
Van Wyk said they had had four reported house-breaking incidents since March – one in Claremont and three in Rondebosch – where the modus operandi had been similar.
“(With regard) to the so called ‘Polite Gang’, thus far we only had one incident of this nature which occurred in Glosderry Road in Claremont,” said Van Wyk.
The latest attack happened in Rondebosch. Andrew Henschilwood and his son were followed home from Kunshani Motors in Belvedere Road after drawing money from an ATM in the forecourt.
They headed home and were confronted by the “Follow-Home” gang.
As Henschilwood drove into his garage, two men slipped into the garage behind them.
“There was one guy on my side and another went round to my son,” he said
Both men were armed.
Henschilwood’s wife was in the lounge and his 15-year-old daughter came out of her bedroom when she heard the dogs barking.
The family were told to lie on the floor as the robbers swiftly moved through their home.
“They were very apologetic and there was no force, other than pointing the firearm,” Henschilwood said.
He said the robbers had told them that no one would get hurt.
“There was no shouting and no screaming and they spoke very calmly,” he said. “They went through all the rooms and then asked me to open the safe, which I did.”
As the robbers were finishing up, they moved the family to the bathroom and closed the door without locking it.
One of the robbers called out, saying they should stay in the bathroom. “When we go, we will tell you!” shouted another.
The robbery lasted less than 30 minutes. The perpetrators made off with cash, two plasma TVs, a safe, cellphones and jewellery, and they took Henschilwood’s car.
Despite the view of the police, the increase in robberies has prompted the Rondebosch Community Improvement District (RCID) to alert residents by issuing a statement saying that the “Follow-Home” gang were “back in action”.
RCID manager Shirly Aldum said: “They’re a very professional group and move from area to area… but the modus operandi stays the same.
“It seems they follow people who drive high-end or up-market cars, and are attracted to people who seem to have money,” she said.
No arrests have yet been made.