Monday, 18 February 2008

Robbers break dogs' necks

17/02/2008 22:38 - (SA)

Hilda Fourie, Beeld

Pretoria - Armed robbers who tied up a young couple from Doornpoort with cellphone-charger and hairdrier cables, and threatened to rape the woman, first killed their two dogs to stop them barking.

They broke their necks.

Ryan Birkenbach, 27, and Frances Kaplan, 26, were overpowered by three robbers in their house in Dovea Avenue, early on Saturday morning.

They moved into the house last Monday.

Frances said: "Charlie, our Maltese, was barking incessantly.

"Ryan went out to quieten her down.

"Usually she puts up a tremendous fuss when she gets a smack, but she didn't do anything. She just kept on barking. Five minutes later, she went quiet."

"That's when we heard something fall inside the house."

Ryan got up and walked into the barrel of a gun in the passage.

Forced her on to bed

The robber and his two accomplices, one armed with a pick, forced Ryan back into the room. Frances dived down the side of the bed.

One of the robbers grabbed her by her shorts and forced her on to the bed.

"I thought I was going to find what it was like to be raped. I wet myself without even noticing. I think that scared them off," said Frances.

The robbers tied up their hands and feet with a cellphone-charger cable and cable from the hairdrier.

They threatened to rape Frances if Ryan didn't show them where the laptops and cellphones were.

With his feet tied up with the hairdryer cable, Ryan had to hop through the house to show them where things were.

Before the robbers left they pulled a duvet over the couple's faces.

"When they pulled the duvet over my head I waited for the shot to go off. I thought, today they're going to shoot us," said Ryan.

Two dogs dead on the grass

After a few minutes, they hopped to the street, screaming, and were found by neighbours who untied them and called the police.

They went to look for their dogs, one an eight-week-old Rottweiler, and found them dead on the grass.

Frances said: "Charlie tried to warn us about the robbers. The dogs are our heroes."

They said members of Tshwane metro police and Sinoville police station were exemplary.

After their experience, Frances is going to work at the police crisis centre and Ryan is planning to join the reservists "so that we can help people who have experienced something similar".

Captain Jan Legoabe confirmed the robbery.


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