Gang storms Leriba Hotel assaulting owner and chef
Pretoria - The criminals who stormed into Leriba Hotel on Saturday evening are believed to have accessed the property through the Hennops River.
Hotel owner Peet du Preez, and the chef and a former employee, were left badly injured after being accosted at Du Preez's home, located on the property.
It is believed that six men gained entry to the Centurion property through the nearby Hennops River, tied the men up and ransacked the house.
The thugs made off with cellphones and other items and severely assaulted Du Preez and his companions.
The intruders ran towards the Hennops River, where a getaway car had been parked.
Ward councillor Ina Strydom, who arrived on the scene shortly after the incident had been reported, said a lot of crime had been occurring at the lodge even though the gate was guarded by security personnel.
Strydom said the back of the property near the Hennops River provided an easy escape route for criminals.
The councillor said the incident was the second at the property in the past two weeks, and on each occasion the robbers made off with television sets, phones and other items.
“Peet has had a problem of illegal squatters next to the property for some time.
"It is something he has been trying to get addressed, but to no avail.”
She said Du Preez had suffered an injury to his eye which had all but swollen up.
He was hit with fists repeatedly and also suffered a broken nose and fractured cheekbone.
Strydom said the doctor had informed Du Preez that his eye was not permanently damaged, but he would need to return for another check-up during the week.
She said the chef also sustained injuries, and part of his skin had peeled off as he was dragged around by the robbers before being bound.
Although he complained that his legs and chin were painful, she said he too was thankfully recovering well.
“I think one of the reasons this has happened is (that) Leriba is up for sale and they know that it is a soft target because there are not many staff on-site at the moment.
"I felt very sorry for them," Strydom added. "The house was literally cleaned out.”
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up to patrol the area as Strydom said the guard on duty that night had not even noticed the robbery.
She said the reason for this was because the property was about 600 metres from the gate.
Police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubela said they were looking for six armed men.
Makhubela said the robbers found the owner of the lodge sitting down to eat and forced him to go to other rooms while demanding money.
Upon finding the other man on the property, they tied him up with a hanger and assaulted the owner.