Robbers hit ‘War Room’ of Bulldogs’ franchise

Stadium thieves were caught on camera stealing newly installed equipment worth over R100000 belonging to the Border Bulldogs Rugby franchise.

Two thieves, one with a gun, were filmed robbing Buffalo City Metro stadium in East London on Sunday night.

The equipment – a 166cm TV, a camera system, projectors and speakers all used for video conferencing and match analysis – was stolen from the franchise’s “War Room”, which is situated inside the BCM stadium, home to the Bulldogs.

Border commercial and marketing manager Akhona Mgijima told the Dispatch the equipment was yet to be put into use and had been sponsored by the Blue Bulls franchise.

“It was very helpful because we would be able to communicate with people in Johannesburg and players would sit in to discuss tactics.

“That’s how we were to use the equipment,” said Mgijima.

The stadium hosted the Mayor’s Cup on Saturday and Mgijima said the incident happened when event organisers where packing up stage material on Sunday.

When Dispatch visited the stadium, the room’s sliding door and security gate were disconnected and had been tossed onto the ground.

The ceiling in the room containing a projector was removed, and there were wires dangling from the the ceiling.

CCTV footage seen by the Dispatch shows that on Sunday afternoon at exactly 3.21pm an apparently male burglar, wearing brown clothes and a cap, spends 10 minutes peering at the area from outside when the room was locked.

At 9pm, CCTV footage shot in night vision reveals a robber wearing a cap and a hoodie breaking the sliding door and gate and entering the room to disconnect the system.

A second robber, wearing a beanie and toting a handgun, crawls towards the first intruder to help him disconnect the equipment before they carry it out of the room.

The whole incident takes only 10 minutes.

Mgijima blamed a lack of security at the Jan Smuts Athletics Stadium, which shares a wall with BCM stadium.

The wall between the two stadiums has gaps which are far from the guarded by security personnel and BCM stadium.

In February this year, Dispatch reported yet another of a string of acts of vandalism against Jan Smuts Athletics Stadium. This time the changing rooms’ toilet cisterns, geyser and and piping were stolen.

The burglaries have intensified over the last three years, with property broken, stolen or damaged. Electrical wiring around the premises has been stripped many times.

East London police spokeswoman warrant officer Hazel Mqala confirmed a case of housebreaking and theft was opened yesterday.

Mgijima urged anyone with information to come forward and promised a reward if it led to arrests.

On the day of the incident, the Bulldogs were hosting the SuperSport Rugby Challenge at Mdantsane which drew about 13500 spectators. Mgijima told the Dispatch that they had been awarded another opportunity to host the quarterfinals of the event.


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