Robbed blind four times – in one week



August 24, 2016
Robbed blind four times – in one week

Students from League of Friends of the Blind in Grassy Park protest after the school was robbed four times. CREDIT: Ayanda Ndamane

Skelms burgled the Centre for visually impaired four times, now residents fear they'll be back for more

A Grassy Park centre for the blind has been robbed four times within a week.

Brazen criminals have been targeting the League of Friends of the Blind [LOFOB] and residents say they are now living in fear of the skelms coming back for a fifth time.

Lofob spokesperson, Heidi Volkwijn, 39, who is also blind, says: “The first incident happened on August 12, they came in the morning and stole two cellphones and fled.

“When the security footage was viewed, it was seen that there were two people and it happened just minutes before I walked in, so I was freaked out by the possibility of what could have happened if I had caught them in the act.

“The following day they came back and stole all the locks off of our gates.

“Then Thursday they jumped over the gate, opened the door with a crowbar and went banging on all the dormitory doors with the crowbars, trying to get in the rooms.

“Luckily one of the ladies managed to hide in her cupboard and called the police, they fled before the police could get here.

“The Saturday, two others broke in and were found in the kitchen with a dangerous looking dog and when they were asked what they were doing, they said their dog wanted water and then ran off.”

Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk says these two suspects have since been arrested.

“Suspects aged 18 and 19 were caught red-handed and arrested, followed by their appearance [yesterday] in the Wynberg Magistrates’ Court for trespassing and malicious damage to property.”

Heidi says they have staged protests outside the Grassy Park police station.

“We are asking for more visibility in our vicinity and a quicker response time. There is only so much we can do in terms of security and making sure our residents feel safe,” she adds.

Portia Dingiswayo, 22, who has been at the centre for a year, says she no longer feels safe.

“It was bad enough that I was scared to walk in the streets, now I’m scared within the walls of the facility,” she says.

“Any noise puts us all on edge, we don’t know if it’s the other residents or the volunteers who are always here or one of the break-ins again. There are always people here, so we don’t know who is who.”

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