A gang of robbers have been terrorising Melkbosstrand and surrounds, with four incidents reported between 21 April and 13 May.
According to Melkbosstrand Neighbourhood Watch spokesperson Nicky Versfeld, it is fortunate that no one has been injured during these incidents.
She adds there is a very real possibility that the suspects could return.
“Residents are urged to remain vigilant and on high alert. The latest terrifying incident in Klein Zout Rivier involved shots being fired and windows smashed in order to gain access,”said Versfeld. “Fortunately due to quick thinking and a plan (a security gate barricading residents) the family were safe from harm and able to call for help immediately. The police, watch, Avenue Response and ADT responded within minutes,”she said.
Assisted by the K9 unit, the security personell scoured surrounding bush areas but despite working tirelessly until the early hours, the suspects managed to avoid detection and capture.

Melkbosstrand police station commander, Capt Ronita van der Toorn, said the suspects involved during the different incidents were described and police believe them to be the same group of people. They are well-spoken, possibly foreign and even a bit nervous. The same kind of gun has also been described.
This surge in robberies has just reinforced the call for the community to get involved and join the local neighbourhood watch.
“People must consider the whole community and not just their street or neighbours. We have a great partenership with the watch and security companies,” said Van der Toorn.
Versfeld agrees: “We need people to get actively involved and keep our present momentum going.”
Local Community Police Forum chair John Taylor adds it is important for people to keep their safety gates and garage doors closed and set their alarms diligently.

“Residents at and in their home have more items of value available and can provide easier access to a safe with additional valuables and firearms. Jewellery, laptops, tablets, cell phones, cameras, cash and so forth are taken,” he said.
“Three of the above incidents occurred where there is no neighbouring property bordering the back of targeted homes. Areas are poorly lit, or not at all, with vegetation allowing concealed suspects to observe and strategize, and move in once the opportunity presents itself. Victims hanging up or removing washing or smoking have been targeted.”
Versfeld says it might be wise to keep a panic button in one’s pocket at all times and teach children what to do during a possible home invasion.
***DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED IN TYGERBURGER, A CAPE TOWN BASED MEDIA24 COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER. IT MAY NOT BE DUPLICATED WITHOUT ACCREDITING THE SOURCE – TYGERBURGER, MEDIA24.***

 

The police have given a name to the group of robbers who have been operating in the greater Melkbosstrand area over the past two months. They’ve been dubbed the “Balaclava Gang”.
Whether the gang operating along the West Coast is connected with the other balaclava gangs who have targeted various neighbourhoods in Cape Town over the past two years is not a certainty, but it isn’t being ruled out.
Two weeks ago TygerBurger reported in the article entitled “Wave of robberies hits Melkbos” that a group of robbers have been terrorising the area with four incidents reported between 21 April and 13 May.
Both the local neighbourhood watch and the police sent out a warning to residents to be vigilant, with the suspicion that the robbers might strike again at any time.
This foreboding has been justified after the gang of four or five robbers struck at least twice in the last two weeks.
Last week Monday the gang broke into a house in Sunningdale and the Monday before that they hit a farm along the N7.
The same modus operandi has led police to believe that this is the work of an organised gang who wear balaclavas.
According to Melkbosstrand Neighbourhood Watch spokesperson Nicky Versfeld, the robbers usually operate at night.
“People should be vigilant as soon as it gets dark. This gang, of which at least one person is armed, would wait for a victim to come out of the house for some reason, such as getting something from the car or going to the washing line. That’s usually how they gain entry into the house,” she explains.
The gang followed the same modus operandi when they robbed people living on a farm along the N7.
“The family was watching television that evening when the pump, which is outside, allegedly broke,” says Philadelphia police spokesperson Capt Frederick Rossouw.
“The man went out to investigate and when he came back the gang followed him in. We suspect the people monitored the house the whole afternoon.”
Rossouw said the gang usually steals valuables they can carry and then sell.
The suspects in this incident fled on foot due to the rough terrain and were possibly picked up by a vehicle on the road.
Many of the attacks have occurred next to a greenbelt or at houses adjacent to dense bushes that provide concealment before and after the incident, says Versfeld.
Rossouw adds that the gang would bind people’s hands behind their backs with cables and then search the premises for valuables.
He continues by saying that they suspect two firearms were used during the attack along the N7, of which one might have been a toy gun.
This cannot be confirmed, and Versfeld says one can in any case never count on a weapon aimed at you being a toy.
“Thankfully, there have been no further attacks in Melkbosstrand since the last article. It is still advisable to be on your guard at night in your homes and also join the neighbourhood watch,” she says.
This particular call for action published in TygerBurger two weeks ago has borne fruit, with a “steady improvement”, according to Versfeld.
“The response has been good and we want to thank those who came forward, but there is also space for more. We increased the patrols in the area and people are becoming more aware,” she says.
Melkbosstrand police commander Cpt Ronita van der Toorn agrees that the best way the community can react to the threat posed by the Balaclava Gang is to join the local neighbourhood watch.
Van der Toorn concludes by saying that Balaclava Gang leads are being followed up, but to date no arrests have been made.
***DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED IN TYGERBURGER, A CAPE TOWN BASED MEDIA24 COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER. IT MAY NOT BE DUPLICATED WITHOUT ACCREDITING THE SOURCE – TYGERBURGER, MEDIA24.***

 

A member of the so-called balaclava gang died on his way to hospital after one of the gang’s last victims, a Melkbosstrand police officer, shot him in the arm and the left side of the torso on Tuesday last week.
Three other robbers managed to escape into the bushy terrain next to Narcissus Street, despite heavy police, K9-unit, chopper and neighbourhood watch presence.
“This was once again the same modus operandi as the other house robberies in the area,” said Melkbosstrand police commander Captain Ronita van der Toorn.
TygerBurger reported on the robberies in recent articles titled “Wave of robberies hits Melkbos” and “Gang strikes again”.
“Last week Tuesday at about 21:00 four balaclava-clad males armed with a revolver, a panga and gloves entered a house in Narcissus Street when a resident briefly stepped outside. The entire family (husband, wife and two young children) were held up,” said Van der Toorn.
One of the robbers demanded the police officer open his safe and that is when the man apparently reached for his gun and shot the suspect twice.
The exact circumstances behind the attack are still being investigated, she says, but preliminary investigation indicates the officer acted within his rights.
The other three suspects escaped with a laptop, wallet, iPhone and cellphone.
Van der Toorn said there were no other injuries, but that the family are very traumatised.
“Some of our members had just exited a meeting at the station when the complaint came in – we were therefore able to assist at the station briefly with answering calls and conveying information both to the police and to our watch response team members before departing for various duties and to observation points, including extra patrols in the area and along the R27.
“One call in particular that I answered was from security at the reserve alerting us to the fact that suspects were seen there, which gave an immediate indication of where to start searching.
“At times like this the station becomes extremely busy which is why we have called for and encourage volunteers to assist with answering the telephone at the police,” said Versfeld.
“It is concerning when someone uses a gun for protection and ends up killing someone. The risk of them getting injured or even ending up in jail in the process becomes so much bigger when it happens. Obviously in this specific case, the person who fired the shot is trained, but one must be very, very careful when firing shots at an intruder,” he says before adding, “it is best to do what robbers want in these situations.”
Taylor urged the public to remain “vigilant” – a buzzword in recent times for Melkbosstrand residents.
“These guys are part of a bigger syndicate and it is far from over,” he warns.
***DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED IN TYGERBURGER, A CAPE TOWN BASED MEDIA24 COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER. IT MAY NOT BE DUPLICATED WITHOUT ACCREDITING THE SOURCE – TYGERBURGER, MEDIA24.***

 

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