[Fwd: Robbers give victim R50 for petrol]

Durban - After being held up in her ransacked Durban North home by two
robbers, a 24-year-old woman was then forced to drive the men to
KwaMashu because they didn't know how to drive and needed a getaway car.

The robbers also gave their startled victim R50, from the R3 500 they
had stolen, to buy petrol.

A combination of criminal inexperience on the part of the
screwdriver-wielding robbers - one in his 20s and the other a teenager -
and the calmness and quick thinking of their victim, photographer Simone
Holmes, meant she and her domestic worker Princess Makhaye, escaped
unharmed during the robbery.

Holmes returned home at about 11.15am, walking in while the robbery was
in progress and found that Makhaye had been tied up.

"A guy walked towards me with a screwdriver and gestured to me to keep
quiet. He told me not to scream and said if I did not scream he would
not stab me," Holmes said on Wednesday.

Although her heart sank when she saw him, she remained calm.

The intruders stole money, Holmes's French passport, three laptops, a
computer, and some of her and her housemates' clothing.

When the pair were ready to leave they wanted to lock Holmes in a bedroom.

Holmes, fearing this might lead to violence, quickly said the doors did
not lock and they should take her car and go.

That's when the robbers came unstuck.

"They said they could not drive... and that I must drive them," Holmes

The men told her to take them to "the market" - Warwick Triangle in
Durban's CBD - but Holmes did not know where that was and asked them to
direct her.

The pair got lost and they ended up on the N2 north.

"I started to freak out because I had no petrol and told them I was
going to run out. So the guy gave me R50 of my money back."

The man said they stole her belongings as they also wanted "nice
things", so Holmes advised him to get an education. He said he dropped
out of school in Grade 10.

During the drive Holmes negotiated to get her laptop and pocket camera
back, which the robbers agreed to. She also kept her phone after telling
them she would blacklist it, so it would be useless to them.

Eventually Holmes was made to turn off at KwaMashu and told to stop at
the taxi rank.

After unpacking their loot, they told Holmes to leave. Holmes asked them
to hand back her laptop and camera as they had promised, but they would
not do so.

After reporting the crime to two police officers nearby, Holmes returned
with the police to the taxi rank, but the two men could not be found.

Police confirmed that a docket on house robbery had been opened.

Robin Candy, chairman of the Greenwood Park Community Policing Forum,
said Holmes was lucky that she had managed to keep her cool and that the
criminals were inexperienced.

"These were entry-level criminals, and she is very lucky," Candy said.

Candy said it was sad that people took such incidents in their stride
and saw it as "a normal way of life", while people overseas were shocked
at the stories emerging from South Africa. - Additional reporting by
Yusuf Moolla


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