Theo Herholdt is seen with his father, Joe, on Theo's 21st birthday three years ago. File picture: Supplied

Durban -

A Greytown businessman was stabbed to death at his home on Wednesday after robbers failed to open a safe on the premises.

It is believed they were frustrated when the key to the safe jammed. Three suspects have been arrested, while police are still searching for a fourth.

Joe Herholdt, 66, was outside his house when four robbers dragged him inside, tied him up and demanded the keys to his safe.

On Wednesday, Herholdt’s son Theo, 24, said his father had been staying with his mother, Thelma Herholdt, 52, and his younger brother at their home.

The Herholdt family owned a construction and maintenance business, where both Joe and Thelma regularly worked during the day.

“When the robbers attacked Dad, Mom was busy at the business, and my brother was at school,” said Theo.

He said when the robbers tried to open the safe, the key jammed. He believed they became frustrated as they had thought there was cash in the safe. “There was no money in the safe,” he said.

Police spokesman Thulani Zwane said Herholdt was repeatedly stabbed and died in his bedroom.

“Community members, who suspected there was something wrong at the victim’s house, reported the matter to the police,” he said.

When the police arrived at the scene, three suspects aged between 19 and 20 were arrested, while one escaped.

Theo last spoke to his father on Sunday afternoon.

“I had just arrived in Kimberley, where I currently live, and he asked me if I had arrived home safely. He was a good father. I could not have asked for a better one,” he said.

The three suspects are to appear in Greytown Magistrate’s Court on Thursday. They face murder and house robbery charges.

The funeral will be held in Greytown next Wednesday.

The Mercury