Family speaks out after five minute burglary

In CCTV footage of the incident, the men can been seen arriving at the property shortly after 3pm.
In CCTV footage of the incident, the men can been seen arriving at the property shortly after 3pm.

Following a third serious crime incident at their home in Price Road, Illiondale, the Seosankar family believes their security provider is unable to cope in the area.

Mr Danjay Seosankar and his wife Pranisha have been clients with Mamba for 15 years, but after a hijacking, armed robbery and now a burglary at their home, the couple say they have their doubts about the providers’ performance in the area.

In 2014, Mr Seosankar was hijacked outside his house and in 2015 the family’s domestic worker suffered minor injuries when she tried to escape the property as armed men entered the house.

Last week, the family was left reeling when four men gained access to the house and took valuables and electronics.

The burglary took less than five minutes.

According to Mr Seosankar, the couple was visiting friends in Midrand at the time of the incident.

“I am disabled and usually I would be at home. I would have taken my pain medication and would have been oblivious to the burglary,” he said.

In CCTV footage of the incident, the men can been seen arriving at the property shortly after 3pm. One of the men exits the car and presses the intercom button several times.

When there is no answer, the man proceeds to tamper with the electric gate motor, but when he realises his attempts to activate the manual control on the motor are unsuccessful, another accomplice steps in with a crowbar to lift the gate off its rails.

Once the gate is open, the men force their way into the house, stealing television sets, gaming consoles, laptop computers, computer screens and jewellery.

Shockingly, as the men make their escape, a vehicle drives past the house as one of the men stands at the gate while another hides behind the car.

From the moment the men enter the house to when they drive away, less than two minutes pass.

The full video of the burglary can be viewed here

“At the time of the burglary, we received missed calls on my wife’s phone. Mamba did not try to contact me, despite both our numbers being on the contract,” Mr Seosankar said.

Automated SMS notifications of the alarm activation were also sent to the couple at the time the men gained access to the property.

“Surely if there was no answer a vehicle should have been dispatched immediately? What if we were held up and could not answer the phone?” he asked.

“Mamba only arrived after my neighbour pressed his panic button when he noticed our gate and front door was open, approximately two minutes after the burglars left. The patrolman told our neighbour that he was at the Total garage in Illiondale, just 500 metres away. If he was dispatched when the alarm was activated he could have caught the men in the act,” said Mr Seosankar.

He believes his family is in danger because his security provider “is not up to scratch and nor is the control room” from where the calls are dispatched.

“Mamba simply cannot cope,” said Mrs Seosankar.

“If a burglary takes less than five minutes you cannot have a response time of 10 minutes,” she said.

According to Mr Seosankar, at a recent community meeting, Illiondale residents were told that a dedicated Mamba vehicle in Illiondale would cost R30 000 to R40 000 per month, while a road closure would cost in the region of R3.2-million.

Investigations following the burglary revealed the registration plates on the red Volkswagen were false.

It is also believed the men can be linked to burglaries and robberies in other areas, including Bedfordview, Kensington and Kempton Park

Marketing director for Mamba Strike Force, Ms Dominique Munro, said armed response officers’ tasks are often demanding and dangerous.

“The highest level of training is needed to maintain the response times on which we, at Mamba, pride ourselves. As such we regularly avoid loss and harm to our clients, many of whom reside in the Illiondale area,” she said.

“On investigation of this particular incident, we can proudly prove with our advanced vehicle tracking, camera and monitoring systems that our armed reaction unit arrived within five minutes,” said Ms Munro.

“The suspects who were caught on CCTV cameras were driving a red Polo, which may also have been involved in other incidents within the Edenvale area. We encourage members of the public to also be on the lookout and contact our control centre to report any suspicious activity,” she said.

Chairperson for the Edenvale Community Police Forum (ECPF), Mrs Linda McKenzie, said the CCTV footage showed how easily criminals can gain access to any property.

“We the ECPF have on many occasions requested that residents ensure they have a bracket over their gate motors, as well as an anti-theft bracket on the gate,” said Mrs McKenzie.

“The ECPF has full backup from Mamba Security in all our operations throughout Edenvale. When it is a Mamba client they are always there before the CPF arrives on-scene,” she said.

“We have monitored all security companies’ response times and found Mamba to respond between two and five minutes. Residents must remember that when there is a serious home invasion where Mamba is assisting, it can be more than a five minute response time to an alarm activation. It should also be noted that it takes between two to three minutes from alarm activation to remove valuables from a home,” said Mrs McKenzie.

Charmaine Slater
Senior journalist (Edenvale)

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