Sunday, 25 March 2007

Man hugs armed robber

23/03/2007 10:54 - (SA)

Christel Raubenheimer, Beeld

Pretoria - A man who caught a young armed robber who had just burgled his home asked him if he knew Jesus, forgave him and prayed for him.

Myndert Bloem from Erasmuskloof in the eastern parts of Pretoria said he ran after two armed robbers and hugged one of them after catching him, and told him about Jesus.

Bloem's domestic worker, Esther Makgoba, was meanwhile lying bleeding in front of the house after one of the two had stabbed her with a knife. She was being treated in Kloof Hospital.

Makgoba and Bertha Pretorius, Bloem's mother-in-law, were overpowered in their house on Thursday morning.

According to Pretorius, the robber aimed his knife at her several times but didn't stab her.

"When I had to lie down (on the bed, after the robbers had ordered her to) I couldn't think, I just prayed," said Pretorius.

"I told him (a robber) that Esther was bleeding, he must fetch a towel. He did. I think he had a good heart," said Pretorius.

Bloem, who had visited a dentist one block away, stopped at the house by chance.

Makgoba had already been injured and Pretorius's hands had been tied up with electric cord in her bedroom. She ran outside when she saw her son-in-law in the driveway.

Bloem took his mother-in-law at the neighbours and rushed back to the dentist to ask him to come and help, and call the police.

Robbers chased through an open field

Constable Os Redelinghuys and student constable Rudzani Luvhengo from the Brooklyn police station arrived within minutes, and along with Bloem and the dentist followed the robbers through an open field.

"When I reached him (one of the suspected robbers), he ducked. I told him: 'Do you know Jesus?' I asked him to close his eyes so that I could pray for him. I forgave him in the name of Jesus," said Bloem.

"I hugged him, knowing that the domestic worker was lying in a pool of blood at home," he said.

The police later found the second suspect. Stolen electronic equipment was also found.

Police spokesperson inspector Paul Ramaloko said the alleged robbers were 15 and 18 years old and they would be charged with armed robbery.