Johannesburg – In the early hours in Bedfordview, a camera catches the image of two house robbers sitting on a wall, just before they climb down and casually walk towards an alleged private security vehicle.
For the residents of Bedfordview, this CCTV footage and another clip is proof that house robbers who have been terrorising the community over the last couple of months are using a private security vehicle as their getaway car.
“These criminals are using this security vehicle as their own personal Uber,” said an angry resident, who didn’t want to be identified.
From the CCTV footage residents believe that the vehicle is a Top Security patrol car.
The gang is also known as Short and Tall, because of the difference in their height.
Their modus operandi is to strike between the hours of 12am and 4am.
“If the family doesn’t wake up, it is burglary, if they do, then it turns into a house robbery,” said the resident.
They often wear gloves and one is believed to be armed with a large silver .45 calibre handgun.
The robbers are suspected to have murdered a community security guard in October last year.
Nditsheni Simba, who worked for the Residents Action Group (RAG) in Bedfordview, was shot while responding to an alarm. He had grabbed the suspect’s leg as he climbed over the wall when his accomplice shot Simba in the head.
A .45 shell was reported to have been found at the scene and CCTV footage caught images of the robbers breaking into a house nearby.
The RAG said it had tried to catch the robbers. It set up patrols in the early morning, but was baffled that the gang always gave it the slip.
Then on November 1, two CCTV cameras filmed the robbers scaling a wall on Chamberlain Street.
The cameras picked up the men sitting on the wall of a house. Then, as a car’s headlights come into view, the two men jumped off the wall and walked towards a vehicle.
“This is the first time I have seen criminals walk towards a security vehicle,” said the resident.
The car, with its emergency vehicle lights on, passes the camera.
“We have been trying to catch them, but we just couldn’t understand. By using a security vehicle they can come in and out of the suburb without drawing attention,” said the resident.
The second incident involving the vehicle happened on January 13 on Florence Road.
At 11.21pm, the alleged security car was spotted on a CCTV camera driving to the top of Florence Road. There it stopped for three minutes before making a U-turn.
At 11.29 pm, the security vehicle left the area.
Florence Street resident Shane Foster said he heard a thump and went into his garden to investigate.
“I saw this guy jumping over the wall. Next thing there was this guy standing next to me with a gun,” said Foster.
The pair led him back into his house.
“They acted good cop, bad cop. The short one kept saying, ‘Hey my brother from another mother, I love you’.”
What worried Foster was that the short robber was drunk.
But the pair didn’t harm him. After ransacking his house, they tied him up with boot laces and left him on the bed.
The robbers used the remote control for the gate to leave the property.
Outside Foster’s home a CCTV camera caught the vehicle pull up on Florence Road at 12.50am.
At 1.09am, the suspects are seen running down Florence Road towards the car.
Residents said that they approached Top Security with the footage and were initially told that the car had possibly beeen painted with the security company’s branding.
In a follow-up meeting, residents claim that they were told that a Top Security guard was suspended and had resigned.
Top Security has not replied to questions regarding the vehicle.
Ekurhuleni West Cluster Bedfordview police spokesperson Captain Andre de Jager said: “We cannot confirm details of the incidents as it is an ongoing investigation.”
But residents are concerned that the resigned Top Security guard they were told had resigned is out there and could take up work at another security company.
“We want to know what steps were taken to ensure the officer is not ever re-employed in the security industry and what decisive steps Top Security has taken” insisted the resident.