Sunday, July 27, 2008

Estate agent survives 2 attacks

For the second time in three months, an estate agent has found herself at the wrong end of the barrel of a gun.

Roleen Beelders, 53, owner of Bordeaux Property in Bergvliet, was hijacked at gunpoint but escaped serious injury.

An increasing number of attacks on estate agents and house-sellers around the country have led some in the industry to question the safety of holding show houses at weekends.

On Wednesday at about 2pm, Beelders was held up by two men in front of a client's house in Galway Road. "One put a gun to my back and demanded the keys. Before I knew it they sped off in my car.

"It happened so quickly. I ran all the way back to my office nearby. A staff member called 10111. They only responded after the third call.

But an hour later the police had still not arrived."

When Beelders called Kirstenhof police station they said they had not been informed by 10111.

"A superintendent told me she had six vehicles available. She was very apologetic."

Beelders was pistol-whipped and robbed at a show house in Bergvliet at the end of April. At the time there were other incidents in the area that led police to warn estate agents to be on their guard and not look after show houses alone.

A shaken Beelders said: "It was just so scary. I was just managing to regain my confidence after the last incident. But now I am too scared to leave my house. I can't sleep at night."

She said agents were very vulnerable even if they had security guards with them.

Police spokesperson Captain Elliot Sinyangana said a case of armed robbery and hijacking had been opened. No arrests had been made and Beelders's black Mazda 3 had not been recovered.

There have been numerous reports of rising crime, particularly in the southern suburbs, involving robberies and hijackings.

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