Business bogged down by toilet-breaking robbers

Adam Wakefield, News24

Johannesburg - Wessel Cronje operates a business in the Krugersdorp CBD and is no stranger to robbery, with the premises falling victim to burglary on several occasions.

However, nothing could have prepared him for the sight he would see on Friday morning when he arrived at work.

"When I got to the office on Friday morning, the ladies were waiting for me and they said to me we have bad news," Cronje told News24.

"I thought 'What is it now?' I thought it was an ordinary burglary because they have been breaking in every second month. They said this time it is a bit of an awkward position."

The "awkward position" was a hole in the bathroom wall, caused by robbers cutting through not one, but two brick walls, so they could get to the cast iron piping which comprised the room's plumbing.

"They made a hole on the outside and smashed the toilet to get to the piping. I went outside and I saw an opening through the outside wall," Cronje said.

"It is a cavity wall ... a double wall with an opening in between and they simply smashed the bricks and opened the wall, and they forced the piping out and in the process smashed the toilet from the outside. It's unbelievable."

It was not just the toilet that fell victim to the robber's demolition work, but the basin was also stripped of its piping and was damaged.

'The cheek to break through the wall'

Cronje, a lawyer, said he suspected that the burglars knew exactly what they were looking for, since such a job required the right tools to get through the brick walls.

"I have no idea who it can be. I suspect some of the street children or just ordinary people living on the street. They sleep there because it’s under the shade netting by the side of the house where the cars park, and they must have seen it," he said.

"Just the cheek to break through the wall. They once came through the roof. So now they've come through the roof, windows, doors and now the wall. Maybe next time it will be underground, you never know.

"It's an ordinary street with ordinary houses. It's in the CBD of Krugersdorp. I'm running my business from one of those houses, so they are old houses.

"They have this caste iron piping, so once you put in plastic piping or whatever, they don't come."

Cronje said he had to fix the hole quickly as it was "a bit of a funny situation".

"I managed to fix it on Friday," he said, though there was still more work to be done in the bathroom itself.

"It's sad it happens in this lovely country, but one gets over it and life goes on," he said.

"I haven't even reported it. If I report everything that happens to the police, they won't have time to do anything else. I just hope it doesn't happen again."

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