Re­tired doc­tor, 75, beaten and his house­guests robbed

Talk of the Town - - Front Page - JON HOUZET

We man­aged to close it, even lock it, but they beat on the door with the ham­mer

A RE­TIRED doc­tor and his house­guests en­dured a ter­ri­fy­ing night-time rob­bery in his Port Al­fred hol­i­day home, in which he was vi­ciously beaten with a ham­mer by as­sailants who wanted his heir­loom Rolex watch.

Al­though the in­ci­dent hap­pened a month ago, no word of the at­tack got out un­til Dr Heyter Brandt, 75, con­tacted Talk of the Town by e-mail and the ten­ant of the cot­tage at his Hill Street premises, Johnny Scholtz, came to see TOTT last week.

Brandt, who lives in Pre­to­ria, visits his hol­i­day home in Hill Street, which he has owned for the past 20 years, about once ev­ery three to six months.

On this visit he had in­vited a den­tist friend and his wife to stay at his house. Brandt’s wife and six-year-old son were also there.

Scholtz, who re­layed the story first, said both cou­ples had gone to bed at about 8pm in the up­stairs bed­rooms. Brandt gave his guests the mas­ter suite while he, his wife and child stayed in one of the other bed­rooms.

“There were three rob­bers, and they got in through a down­stairs win­dow,” Scholtz said.

“They went to the main bed­room first and sur­prised the den­tist and his wife in bed. They held a knife to the den­tist’s throat and an­other one held a ham­mer. They said ‘keep quiet and we won’t hurt you’.” The rob­bers took an iPad, two cell­phones, watches and a wal­let con­tain­ing about R5,000.

But Scholtz said the den­tist’s wife was able to hide her rings and screamed.

Brandt took up the story from there. “Af­ter I heard the woman scream, I went out into the pas­sage where they at­tacked me with a ham­mer. One had a big knife and cut my hand.”

He said he man­aged to get back in­side the bed­room and he and his wife pushed the door back against the as­sailants. “We man­aged to close it, even lock it, but they beat on the door with the ham­mer.”

Brandt had brought his firearm with him, but for­got where he had put it and looked for it in des­per­a­tion.

“They’re lucky I couldn’t find it,” he said.

The rob­bers broke the lock and came into the room. They de­manded Brandt’s watch and in re­sponse he threw it un­der the bed.

The rob­bers as­saulted him again. “The one with the ham­mer said, ‘Now I’m go­ing to kill you’,” Brandt said.

“That’s when my wife said, ‘give him the watch’.” Af­ter they got the watch, the rob­bers fled, leav­ing the same way they had got in, through a down­stairs win­dow. Brandt set off the alarm and Mul­tiSe­cu­rity re­sponded, fol­lowed by the po­lice.

Brandt de­scribed the or­deal as ter­ri­fy­ing and said he had feared for the safety of his six-year-old child.

Brandt was the only one as­saulted in the rob­bery, sus­tain­ing haematomas on his head, face and arm from be­ing beaten with the ham­mer, and lac­er­a­tions to his hand from the knife.

He said al­though the rob­bers wore bal­a­clavas, he could tell from the por­tion of their faces vis­i­ble and the few words spo­ken, that the one who at­tacked him with the ham­mer was coloured, and an­other as­sailant was black.

Brandt said his watch, an 18ct gold Rolex, would cost R385,000 to re­place. He has of­fered a R10,000 re­ward for its re­cov­ery.

Po­lice spokes­woman Cap­tain Mali Goven­der con­firmed the in­ci­dent and said the items stolen in­cluded a Rolex Mariner 18ct gold watch, four iPhones, a Sam­sung A5 cell­phone, wal­lets and cash to the value R8,650. Goven­der said no ar­rests had been made.

“It’s the se­cond time we’ve been robbed in that house. About a year ago our house­guests’ lug­gage was stolen from the top floor while we were all down­stairs in the kitchen,” he said.

Af­ter that in­ci­dent he said he had told the po­lice he sus­pected a painter who had painted the house just be­fore they came down on hol­i­day, but noth­ing had come of it.

“I’m so dis­ap­pointed in Port Al­fred. You ex­pect this kind of thing to hap­pen in Pre­to­ria or Jo­han­nes­burg, but not here,” Brandt said.

“Hill Street used to be a beau­ti­ful area, now there’s drug ped­dling go­ing on at night and va­grants dump­ing rub­bish in the bush.”

CRIME SCENE: The home of Dr Heyter Brandt in Hill Street, where rob­bers broke in at night and as­saulted the re­tired doc­tor and robbed him and his house­guests

Pic­tures: JON HOUZET

TER­RI­FY­ING OR­DEAL: The bed­room door which the rob­bers broke open with a ham­mer to get to Dr Heyter Brandt and rob him of his gold Rolex watch

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