KwaZulu-Natal - When James McCall of Hillcrest logged on to his computer on Monday after a weekend break-in, he found that the burglar had posted a picture of himself on his wife’s Facebook site.
“I wanted to log on to change our passwords. I was surprised to see activity on Barbara’s profile and the picture of the man.
“At first I thought one of our relatives had posted it,” said McCall.
He said his wife’s Samsung tablet had been taken on Sunday, the latest of five recent burglaries and a robbery at their Highway guesthouse.
They handed the picture to authorities and hoped this would bring them closer to apprehending the culprits.
McCall said they believed the man had mistakenly uploaded the picture, because he (the burglar) had also uploaded others that the family had taken but not put on Facebook.
“He probably did not realise he was doing it. Usually you never log off from a tablet, so it could have happened quite quickly.”
McCall said two men entered the house, making it past the dogs, security gates and electric fencing.
“Some of our guests had been having a braai on Sunday evening and some of the doors had been left open. They (the burglars) took digital cameras, tablets, flat screen television sets, computer screens and hard drives.
“My wife sells handbags and keeps them in a basket – they emptied it and put all they had taken into the basket and left,” he said.
He said they only realised they had been burgled the next day.
SAPS spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said a case of housebreaking and theft was being investigated by Hillcrest police.
“It is alleged by the complainant that he locked some of the doors and windows … and went to bed. The next day the occupant noticed that the back door was opened and some of their belongings were taken.
“No arrests have been made and investigations are continuing.”
The couple have lived in and run The Brackens B&B in Hillcrest since 2002.
“Since March last year, we’ve been burgled five times,” said McCall.
On March 30, two men jumped over the front gate but had not managed to steal much, so the McCalls had not opened a case.
The second was on July 23 and was much worse.
“I had left the house to go do some shopping, when the two guys jumped over the gate and came into the house.
“They tied my wife up and threatened to kill her. They took cellphones, computers and laptops,” he said.
On August 28, a man jumped over the gate and squeezed himself through the burglar guards to get into the McCalls’ dining room.
“He stole another laptop and a set of car keys, but, luckily because he did not know how to drive, abandoned the car and left,” he said.
He said that on Christmas Eve someone gained access and stole phones, money and a bag of shoes.
McCall said the last three break-ins had set them back R68 000, R34 000 and R29 000 respectively.
“We have never recovered any of the items … We have reported the incidents to police but we are still waiting. It’s unacceptable that I no longer feel safe on my own verandah,” said McCall.
He said he would hire private investigator Brad Nathanson to help with the investigations.
Barbara McCall said although they had been plagued by break-ins, they had no intention of moving.
“There are too many people who call this place home and we have a lot invested here,” she said.
Last month a Kloof family was terrorised by armed robbers.
Srini Naidoo was wounded in a shooting and his family terrorised in a 15-minute ordeal. Five intruders armed with guns and knives broke into the Naidoo home in Kloof, gaining access through a window at 1.45am.
On December 20, Barry Lindeque, 75, was wounded in a shooting at his Waterfall home while trying to protect his family with a sword.
Earlier last month, a mother was assaulted as robbers held a gun to her 12-year-old son’s head at their Kloof home. The men repeatedly pulled the trigger with an empty barrel to terrorise his parents.
On December 5, a father was shot and severely wounded in Ridge Road, Hillcrest, during a house robbery.
November was no better: Douglas Gordon, 55, of Hillcrest, was tied up and hit with a hammer by four intruders who tried to cut off his finger to remove his wedding ring. In the same month, a couple was tied up and their house ransacked by robbers in Bridget Road, Gillitts, and a Pinetown man was repeatedly stabbed by five armed intruders at his home.