Lighton Block hosts hellish holdup

img_1164.jpg Photo taken by Melissa Douman

Melissa Douman

Four dramatic arts students had just set up all their filming equipment to start shooting a love story in Lighton Block on the Education campus.
Suddenly two armed men burst into the room, one of them cocking his gun, shouting: “Get down! Get the fuck down!”
Kyle Ferguson, Bradley Katzen, Bradley Reynolds and Eugene Smith knew that Wednesday October 10 was going to be a long night, but they had no idea that it was going to turn into a nightmare.
“I was freaked out,” said Katzen. “At first I thought that it was an act, but when I saw Eugene and Kyle on the floor, I got down and joined them.”
The armed men demanded they hand over their wallets, car keys, laptops and cellphones. They stipulated also that the students, now face-down on the floor, did not look at them as they were unmasked.
The men moved around in the room, packing all the goods they were planning to steal, one of which was the Wits TV camera worth R20 000.
Katzen heard footsteps in the passage, and knew it had to be Bradley Reynolds.
Reynolds had bolted out to fetch a digital camera he had forgotten in his car. On the way he had passed the two strangers in the corridor, but had no reason to suspect them of anything.
So when Reynolds walked back into the room he greeted them with: “Hey man, what’s up?”
He was shoved to the floor and ordered to hand over his car keys. Reynolds turned to look at the man, who pushed a gun at his head and shouted: “Stay the fuck down, don’t look at me!” He stomped on Reynolds’ lower calf.
The criminals fled the room with all the equipment, money, car keys and the digital camera that Reynolds said had sentimental value and could never be replaced.
Fergusson knew that her mother had informed Campus Control earlier in the day that the students would be shooting a film in Enlightenment house. She had asked them to keep an eye over them, since they were using her office.
As soon as the robbers left, the shaken students called Campus Control, who called Hillbrow Police. The students waited, but the police did not show up. When the phoned the police station’s call centre, it just rang.
They decided to go to the Hillbrow Police Station themselves to report the matter. Reynolds said he was shocked to see the station full of officers “just sitting around”, some reading magazines. Katzen was surprised to see so many heaters being used in one place.
Reynolds became frustrated when an officer insisted on writing out their statement herself. He thought that she was really struggling and was relieved when the statement was finally documented.
When Vuvuzela asked Hillbrow Police to comment, a man who identified himself as a commanding officer, said: “All the commanding officers were off that night and so can’t comment.” He refused to give his name.

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