Armed robbery destroys a family’s long weekend plans

The armed men scratched Maurizio Scolari's car when they were fleeing the scene.

A NEW Germany family’s long weekend plans at the beach were scuppered on Friday, 22 September when they were ambushed by three armed men in their home.

Maurizio Scolari had just arrived at his parents-in-law’s house in New Germany with his wife, Claire and children (aged 12 and eight years and a 10-month-old baby) from Johannesburg when the incident happened.

“I had just unhitched the trailer from my car as we brought some groceries and extra clothes for the long weekend when three men wearing balaclavas and gloves stormed the property armed with guns; one had a R4 rifle and the other two had 9mm pistols,” said Scolari.

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The men lead him, his father-in-law, Bobby Smith, the children and Claire to the lounge.

Scolari said they heard there was a fourth man who was waiting in a getaway car outside.

His mother-in-law, Gail Smith, was in the kitchen showing off her grandchild to her domestic worker.

“I was very happy about seeing my family but all those smiles and excitement turned sour when I turned and saw three armed men. They gathered us all in the lounge and then unplugged the plasma TV,”said Smith.

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“They took cellphones, removed our watches and even took my wedding ring along with my husband’s. They almost broke my finger trying to remove it,” she said.

The men fled in Scolari’s Audi Q7 and Bobby Smith’s Chevrolet bakkie.

“My wife and children’s luggage and her handbag with her purse and all her cards were still in my car,” said Scolari.


Putting back the pieces

Smith’s gardener who saw the three men, ran and called for help. One of the neighbours pressed a panic button.

“LAD Security responded within minutes and we also sent a message to the Lyndhurst Crime WhatsApp group. Ambulances and police also responded,” said Smith.

She thanked LAD Security for their quick response. “They really helped us and advised us about things we should do. We were so traumatised and confused.”

Within an hour, the cars were recovered after being deserted in KwaDabeka. Some of the stolen items were also found but the TV, wallets, house keys, wedding rings, groceries and the luggage were not recovered.

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Scolari said his two older children were so traumatised that they did not want to sleep in the house and they had to sleep at his brother-in-law’s house.

“On Saturday morning, I had to meet with the children’s mom, my ex wife, in Harrismith who took them back to Johannesburg.

The family said although they are thankful that no one was hurt in the process, trying to rebuild their lives and continue as normal is frustrating.

“We have to apply for new licence cards and trying to get my car back from the police pound was a mission.

“I flew from Johannesburg on Tuesday, 26 September but my car was only released on Thursday as I had to go through different departments to get papers that prove that I am the owner. We were the ones who were robbed and tortured but I now feel like a criminal,” said frustrated Scolari

Pinetown SAPS communications officer, Capt Bongumusa Manqele confirmed the incident and said police are investigating and no one has been arrested yet.


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Sanelisiwe Tsinde

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