When King David et al wrote in the biblical book of Psalms: “For by you I can run upon a troop; And by my God I can leap over a wall”, I don’t think they had in mind the aims of the trio who recently caused early morning hullabaloo on the street where I live.
When over a year ago we moved from a fifth floor flat on Cape Town’s bustling Atlantic Seaboard to one of the leafy Southern Suburbs of the city, we thought life would slow down. In fact, I feared it would be boring. It would seem, however, that we were mistaken.
Living on the fifth floor of a block of flats didn’t lend itself to much drama, other than the occasional noise and traffic chaos in the street below, when there was an event at the nearby stadium. However, our existence in the land of back gardens, complete with grass, trees and shrubs, which don’t properly disguise the high walls and electric fences, has serious potential for excitement.
Just after 1am on Wednesday, our small dogs, which sleep in our bedroom, began to bark. Just as I was about to shush them, my sister-in-law, who lives with us, screamed. At the same time, we heard alarm sirens going off down the street. Before we were fully awake, we heard running on our roof, and as we pressed the panic button, I heard the rattling of the barred security gate that protects the French doors in our lounge. We were under siege.
Within what seemed like a few seconds, an armed response team from the security firm that guards our property and that of some of our neighbours had appeared at our gate, and after we let them in, embarked on a search of the compound, where they found one man leaping over our 10ft high back wall with the ease of a practised Olympic high jump athlete, only without the supporting pole.
Unfortunately for the athletic burglar, the compound he leapt into just happens to be the home of the manager of a security firm whose employees had been patrolling the area as the commotion started in our neighbourhood. That was the end of his run.
Apparently he and two of his colleagues, one got away, had tried to burgle one of our neighbours down the road. When their attack had been foiled by the alarm system and the security patrol in the street, they had tried to escape by bounding over walls, some of them topped off with electric fencing. One of them, had in the manner of the neighbour’s cat, managed to get on our roof in his escape bid.
We were very lucky that the guy on the roof seems to have been light on his feet, because he only damaged our roof instead of crashing through the skylight, which would have literally had him dropping into our lounge. Now that would have been serious drama.
Perhaps if the Olympics introduced a 10ft hurdles race, the burglars might have chosen a different career path. On the plus side, we have now been invited to join the neighbourhood watch.