A knock on the door with a belligerent greeting from the residency manager to “get your kit on!”and “have you seen your passport lately?” briefly changed the benign face of our lazy Sunday.

Under cover of night, thieves stole into the complex and worked their way into 5 units, taking with them portable valuables they found by torchlight on the ground floor. The perpetrators took their loot to the deck of the recreation area where they emptied wallets, purses, backpacks and ransacked computer bags in their supposed search for hard cash.

Laptops /passports/ documents/emptied wallets / purses / bags were found dumped in the pool refuse bin by the manager as he went about his ritual pool cleaning activities.

Indicative of the separate lives we lead in our clustered apartments, we knew none of the people assembled around the bench as we sorted belongings while the Sergeant complained “people just don’t call the police anymore!”
Nobody heard anything.

Appointment cards begging questions / business cards/ secreted photographs/ poor licence photos/ credit cards/ contact details/ favourite verses littered the bin… lives were laid bare as we identified and retrieved our goods.

We were grateful to retrieve our passports and laptop and for only having a bit of cash removed.

It was evident from the sergeant’s response that not having household insurance is a definite ‘no-no’. We did not feel affronted by the ‘petty theft’, unaccompanied as it was by the violence so prevalent in our land.

A couple of days later, a friendly police volunteer named Stuart called in to see us to offer advice and tips on ‘how not to get robbed.’ Pamphlets dealing with identity theft, ‘protecting and identifying your property’ and ‘DataDot’ technology were delivered and discussed. Stuart offers a valuable service which he has been doing since retirement ten years ago; his affable manner and sense of duty were admirable.

We asked Stuart if there had been any progress with the case and he informed us they have their eye on ‘persons of interest’ and the dusted prints may prove valuable. Complex resident, American Melissa, was unfortunate enough to have her wallet and contents taken; her Coles card was used in Inala and when there is a vehicle available, the footage will be collected by police (sounded a bit like Zim – sorry, no vehicle!!)

Telling my friend back in South Africa about our Sunday, I was asked if I had any clothes on this time. The last robbery I was involved in resulted in me chasing a vehicle barefoot and naked apart from a flying towel, pursued by a wailing lady….well that is another story 🙂