Home alone, Umdloti resident and former North Coast Courier journalist’s quick thinking to escape out the upstairs bathroom window saved her from an encounter with at least three burglars brandishing knives and a screwdriver.
The men entered her home at about 12.45am this morning, North Coast Courier reports.
“I woke up to what I thought was the crash of a glass falling,” said Jacqueline Herbst.
“I looked around the house, found nothing and returned to bed.
“I felt disturbed and checked again, and spotted one of my cats crouching nervously under a couch. I returned to my room. Then I heard a repetitive clicking sound and thought there is definitely something amiss. We leave the lamps on in the lounge, and I got up a third time and saw a man wearing blue overalls and a black beanie standing there.
“I cannot describe the feeling of vulnerability and fear when I saw that man.
“Confrontation was obviously not an option, and I went back to my bedroom and locked the door, and my mind began racing. I realised my only option was to escape out the bathroom window, fortunately a large one, but on the first floor.”
As she climbed silently out the window, she phoned a friend who called other neighbours and ADT and then she called Durban North police.
Luckily a fit and agile woman, Herbst managed to scale down the wall, reach a ledge and the balcony and run across to her friend’s house.
When she returned to the house with ADT she had a close encounter with one of the robbers as he tried to escape.
When he jumped out at her, knife in hand, the ADT armed response officer shot him in the leg.
Meanwhile the Durban North police arrived and cuffed a man upstairs.
It appears the burglars had planned to take the TV, DSTV decoder, sound system and X-box but only one got away with the flat screen TV.
Undaunted by the trauma, Herbst approached the cuffed man and threatened his life with muti if he did not produce her missing house and car keys. However, these were not found.
“My biggest fear was being raped.
“I am actually quite relieved my fiance Donovan Muirhead was away on business, as he would have confronted them,” Herbst said.
Investigation revealed the noise Herbst had heard was the window latch falling when the burglars broke it with a screwdriver.
“I am grateful to the ADT armed response officer who saved my life when one of the burglars jumped at me, and to the police who handled everything professionally and the K9 Unit. I am especially grateful to neighbours, who all rallied around to make sure I was OK.”
– Caxton News Service