Vagrants invade plush R2.5m home
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More than a year after an eccentric Durban millionaire went missing, police and concerned neighbours are no closer to finding out what happened to him.
Dietrich Scholz, 72, mysteriously disappeared in January last year, leaving behind his ID and passport and millions in the bank.
Vagrants have now invaded his plush R2.5 million home in JB Marks (Chelmsford) Road, making life hell for his neighbours.
Scholz was a common sight in Glenwood, walking the streets, pulling his groceries behind him in a trolley. But since his disappearance last year, no one has seen or heard from him. Not even the German consulate could provide clues as to whether he was living or dead.
Police this week confirmed they were no longer investigating a missing person’s case.
There has been no reported movement on his bank account save for an impostor trying to get his millions transferred to another account last year.
Real estate agent Charmaine Galbraith, who sold Scholz the house, said the search for him had gone quiet.
“I am still searching on my own, making calls in the hope that I will track him down alive and well. I have started phoning state mental institutions. I have a gut feeling he is there and has no way of getting in touch with us.
“I called Fort Napier and although admissions and registry have no record of him I was advised to call back in a week and speak to someone in charge. I have a feeling this could be it,” she said.
Galbraith made it a habit to check up on Scholz regularly.
“Every time I drove past his house I would see him pottering about in the garden. The situation is very strange. His ID and passport were left in the house.”
She sold him his “dream house” after he initially wanted a Glenwood flat for R400 000.
“He said he wanted to spend his last few years in paradise. Although I didn’t think he had two pennies to rub together, I took him to see a number of expensive homes.
“When I took him to the house on Chelmsford Road, he walked around in a daze and said he had found his paradise. When he told me he wanted the house, I didn’t think he could afford it,” said Galbraith.
“I called his banker, who said he easily had the amount of money required to buy the house. He paid cash for the house and moved in, pushing his mattress in a trolley up the road.”
She said it was disheartening to see his paradise ripped apart by vagrants. The damage is not visible from the road, but inside there is evidence that the house has been invaded.
“The back door has been broken and everything inside ransacked. It will take a fortune to restore the house.”
Galbraith said the last contact she had with his banker was last year when someone called in pretending to be Scholz.
“He wanted all the money from the account transferred to another account. The banker asked him to come into the bank. He then contacted me to help identify him, but the man never showed up,” she said.
Bulwer Safety Forum chairwoman Heather Rorick, speaking on behalf of the neighbours, said she had been helping to try to track Scholz but had also hit dead-ends.
“The German consulate confirmed he had family in Germany but wouldn’t offer further assistance. They say they can’t reach his son. We tried to open a case at the Umbilo police station but were unsuccessful. We even went to the mortuary to see if a John Doe matching his description had come in, but they had nothing on record.”
Rorick said it seemed as if Scholz had disappeared.
She said neighbours behind his property had sold because fence-hoppers had been coming on to their property from Scholz’s.
“Neighbours have come together to pay for the grass to be cut so the property won’t look abandoned,” she added.\