11 August 2017 Read: 6857
Shortly after the rural safety meeting held between the SAPS and the Haenertsburg community on Thursday evening, three separate fires were started on a farm on the N road towards Polokwane. A short while later Gary Barnes, owner of the Pot & Plow, was attacked whilst closing up for the night. He’d just made himself a late supper of mashed potatoes with some vegetables and was on his way to his home, behind the restaurant, when he was surprised by four men under the age of 40.
One held a knife to his throat; another held a gun to his head as the plate and contents smashed onto the tiled floor. In perfect English, he was ordered to keep quiet. Unmasked and wearing gloves, they aggressively requested the keys for the safe and removed a substantial amount of cash. They bound Gary’s hands and feet with wire. They proceeded to trash both the restaurant and his home. Every drawer was ripped open and contents scattered, beds were overturned, they broke the juke box and got a pick from the storeroom to break open the newly installed cigarette machine. They dragged Gary’s many suitcases into the restaurant intent on filling them with his clothing, cigarettes and Zwakala craft beers.
A still traumatised staffer, living next door, heard the sound of breaking and phoned head honcho Lizzie Modiba who was fast asleep in her home a few kilometers away. Lizzie quickly phoned the Chairman of the relevant sector of the Haenertsburg Neighbourhood Watch.
HNW reacted immediately and ten men arrived with headlights on and torches flashing. One criminal was seen fleeing out the back. HNW gave chase and the criminal ran clean out of his one shoe. The four are believed to have had a vehicle parked nearby. They made off with two cellphones, the cash and a laptop. Gary’s ordeal lasted about 1½ hours. The quick reaction of the staffer, Lizzie, and HNW meant that Gary’s life was spared and most of the material possessions were recovered. Staff and customers helped sort out the mess and took control of business while Gary was advised to go away and rest for a few days.