Cape crowbar gangs: attacks surge
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Cape Town - Crowbar burglars forced their way into two northern suburbs homes this week just days after a suspected crowbar gang was arrested in the area and despite residents being on alert following a surge of break-ins.
And this week a security company head shed light on how widespread the problem of crowbar burglaries is, saying there are about 27 such gangs operating around Cape Town.
The latest break-in was in Loevenstein, Bellville, early on Friday morning. A number of northern suburbs homes have been targeted recently by gangs which apparently have shifted their operations from the southern suburbs.
Another crowbar burglary took place in Durbanville on Wednesday.
That incident happened a day after provincial police commissioner Arno Lamoer’s house was broken into nearby and barely 48 hours after the suspected crowbar gang was arrested in Durbanville.
Johan Hulme, a co-owner of security company Bassett Burglar Alarms, said this week that from the start of the year the company had responded to at least 15 crowbar burglaries.
He said he believed 27 gangs were operating in the Cape.
Hulme said all the gangs forced their way through the front door of homes.
“Time is their friend here... They break the door open (then it is a) smash-and-grab scenario and (they) take mostly electronic devices, TVs, cellphones, computers, and jewellery, if visible during the burglary,” he said.
A post on the Kendal Road Community Watch Facebook page said earlier on Friday there had been an attempted crowbar break-in on the outskirts of Durbanville.
The post said a resident arrived home to find three men running out her garage.
She discovered her home had been ransacked.
The men got away in a cream Colt bakkie.
Another post on the Kendal Road Community Watch Facebook page said there was a crowbar burglary in Sonstraal on Wednesday.
Van Wyk confirmed the incident, saying the burglars got into the house via the front door. No arrests were made.
Asked about the number of crowbar-style gangs operating in the province, Van Wyk said his office was not aware of the 27 gangs that Hulme mentioned.
Van Wyk did not say how many gangs were thought to be operating in the province.
On Tuesday, Lamoer’s house was broken into and valuables including electronic equipment stolen.
Police Brigadier Novela Potelwa said the robbers got into the home “by cutting one of the house’s windows”.
The burglary was only noticed when occupants in the house woke up and realised something was amiss.
No one was arrested.
Potelwa would not be drawn on whether members of a crowbar gang targeted the house.
Asked if Lamoer had been targeted because of his job as police commissioner, she said: “In as far as the motive of the perpetrators (is concerned) only the investigation will inform us about their intentions. At this point all possibilities are being looked into.”
Lamoer’s home was burgled a day after six suspects were arrested in Durbanville in connection with a house robbery.
Police spokesman Colonel Tembinkosi Kinana
said three suspects were arrested in the house which was being robbed and in which a domestic worker was tied up, and another three were arrested nearby in a rented car.
A gun was found on them.
Kinana said he was not able to confirm whether the suspects were linked to the crowbar gangs.