Smiling Craig Viljoen with Natasha several hours after three intruders had invaded their home. Rather than making off with a pile of stolen goods, the thieves left with a whole lot of pain instead.
Date: 29 September 2018 By: Jo Robinson
A trio of violent home invaders got more than they bargained for when they broke into the home of Craig Viljoen in Louis Trichardt last week.
At around 03:00 on Thursday, 20 September, Craig’s wife, Natasha, woke up to find three armed intruders standing by her bed. She was in the master bedroom with the couple’s one-year-old baby, while Craig was in their three-year-old son’s bedroom.
One of the thugs threatened to kill Natasha if she screamed, but scream she did anyway, at the top of her voice. Roused by his terrified wife’s shouts, Craig woke up and ran to her. When he pulled open the bedroom door, it was only to come face to face with an assailant holding a knife up in the air, ready to plunge downward into his body.
Acting purely on instinct, Craig grabbed the intruder’s arm and wrested the knife from him, then started punching him. At this point, the second intruder tried to save the first one by hitting Craig’s back and arms with a tyre iron. In all this pandemonium, Craig managed to grab the tyre iron as well and summarily proceeded to beat criminal number two with it. At this point, all three thieves fled out the front door, but not without one of them getting a crack on the back of the head with their own well-aimed tyre iron first.
Deconstructing what happened, Craig and Natasha say that the thieves must have had a little time to themselves before the couple woke up. Prior to entering the master bedroom, they had placed items they planned to take with them close to the front door, which they had unlocked and opened after entering through an open window. They took a rucksack and placed it on the floor in readiness for whatever stolen goods they were going to put in it. Next to it they put Craig’s camera bag and Natasha’s jewellery box. They got away with a cellphone and the cash from Natasha’s purse, and pocketed the house keys and the keys to Craig’s car.
The keys will do them no good now, though. All the locks to the house have been changed and a security system, together with reinforced and additional security gates, is in place. The family has also grown to include a couple of furry, four-footed members, including a Rottweiler, which will further ensure that they will never appear to be a soft target for criminals again.
Even though Natasha and Craig are in justifiable shock at this point, they have no intention of letting these criminals upset their lives any further. “I am so proud of Craig for fighting and saving his family,” said Natasha. “I used to give him a hard time about his short fuse,” she continued with a smile, “but now I know I will be eternally grateful for it and for his courage.”
The two are immensely grateful to their families and friends, and especially their parents and sisters, who came to their aid immediately. Mainly, though, they are grateful to God for waking them and for giving Craig strength when he needed it. “You don’t think for one minute that something like this will ever happen to you,” said Natasha. “That’s why there was a window available for them to get in, even though you would never have expected an adult male to fit through the burglar bars we had in place. We will never neglect home security again. I wanted to say that if you are parents of young children, you must be especially vigilant and not leave them open to harm’s way. Honestly, whoever you are, take steps right now to make sure that your home is not an easy target.”
Craig’s bravery in a situation that could have turned deadly for this young family has saved his wife and children from whatever it was the three intruders were planning to do with them once they had their cash and valuables. “I would do it again,” he said with a grin.
The police have confirmed the incident and are currently investigating. All three the intruders were described as tall and extremely thin.
Jo joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in 2018 pursuing a career in journalism after many years of writing fiction and non-fiction for other sectors.