AN elderly couple had a narrow escape when they were tied up and robbed on their Thornhill farm yesterday morning. The couple – cattle farmers whose names are known to The Herald – asked that they not be identified as they feared the robbers would return.
They are the parents of a prominent Port Elizabeth attorney.
Within hours of the incident, five suspects were arrested and rifles and ammunition were recovered due to the swift reaction of the police.
Police also recovered two vehicles believed to have been used as getaway transport during the robbery.
Police spokesman Marianette Olivier said police first received a call about a robbery on the Maatjiesfontein Road, leading up to the farm.
"The robbers tied up the couple and two technicians who were at the farm working on the phone lines. At gunpoint, they demanded the keys to the safe.
"The suspects stole firearms and ammunition before speeding off in a white Toyota kombi and a maroon Polo. Ten men are believed to be involved in the robbery,” she said.
While fleeing the crime scene the Toyota kombi got stuck along the road. Attempts by the robbers to tow the vehicle failed, forcing them to abandon it in the middle of the road.
It is believed that the breakdown also forced them to throw the firearms and ammunition into the bush.
When The Herald arrived at the scene, a shotgun, two rifles, a revolver, ammunition and an angle grinder were lying in the bush next to the broken down vehicle.
"Due to the swift reaction of the police and with the help of the Phase 2 community, five men were arrested within a few hours of the robbery.
"In total five firearms, one found in the possession of one of the robbers, and ammunition were recovered. We are so grateful that the stolen weapons did not end up in the wrong hands,” Olivier said.
The maroon Polo was later found abandoned with one of the farmworkers in the boot.
Humansdorp cluster commander Brigadier Neil Jantjies said they would leave no stone unturned in their search for the other suspects.