When a trio of armed robbers broke into Driekie Croucamp’s home in the dead of night, they couldn’t have predicted her no-holds-barred reaction. Furthermore, the intruders – who it’s safe to say were taught an important lesson – ended up leaving with little more than damaged egos.
Croucamp, who was 39 at the time of the incident, lives in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. And on the evening of May 12, 2015, she was sleeping soundly in her home. Meanwhile, her boyfriend Craven Coetzee, who was on call, was asleep in another bedroom.
Croucamp was awoken at around 2:30 a.m. by noises in the kitchen. She guessed, however, that it was just her boyfriend preparing a late-night snack. But she was very, very wrong.
All of the ensuing events that night were, incredibly, caught on camera. Croucamp’s home is fitted with CCTV throughout – and the footage captured during the attempted robbery is rivetingly dramatic.
Before Croucamp is woken by the presence of the men, her surveillance cameras capture them as they make their way around her house. And with the intruders’ faces ghostlike in night-vison mode, it’s very creepy to watch.
After spending more than 20 minutes scoping out their surroundings, the three intruders make their way into the kitchen. Here, they pick up knives and electrical cable, which Coetzee reckoned would have been used to tie the couple up.
In the video, one of the robbers peels off from the group and makes his way towards Croucamp’s bedroom. He’s got her purse in his hands, too. But suddenly he gets startled and warns the others to stay away.
It’s then another ten minutes before the men find themselves back in the hallway. However, when they get there, Croucamp is ready and waiting. You won’t believe what happened next.
After Croucamp had surprised the robbers with her presence, one of them went for her with a knife. But she was prepared: she immediately fired a shot at the gang from a pistol she’d picked up from bedside her bed.
The three shocked intruders then immediately fled the scene. Meanwhile, unsurprisingly, the gunshot woke Coetzee. He leapt out of bed, gun in tow, to find out what was going on – namely, that his girlfriend had everything under control.
Fortunately, no one was hurt – despite Croucamp firing a second shot at the robbers. All three had jumped out of the window before running into the darkness – minus any significant loot.
The CCTV footage shows that when Coetzee arrives on the scene he does a quick search to make sure there’s no one left lingering in the shadows. Satisfied, he switches off the lights in case the intruders were still nearby and armed.
With the robbers on the run, the couple dialed the cops and pressed the panic button on their security system. Their escape – and indeed the robbers’ – had been a lucky one.
The incredible CCTV footage was later uploaded to YouTube by Coetzee. It caused quite a sensation online, too, and as of July 2016 had been viewed almost five million times.
Many people were impressed by the bravery and quick thinking shown by Croucamp, but some questioned the authenticity of the video. For example, why Coetzee slept with a gun in his hand was a recurring query in the video’s comments section.
In response, as well as leaving a thorough explanation – including links to news articles – in the upload’s intro, Coetzee released another question-and-answer video. In it he explained the ins and outs of the robbery.
Some YouTube viewers were also shocked at the level of violence. “How can you live in fear like that all the time?” one asked. “Move to a better neighborhood.”
Sadly, burglaries like these are not uncommon in South Africa. In fact, they’re regularly violent, and in lots of cases intruders strike while the owners are in. Not only are alarms thereby usually deactivated, but the robbers can be directed to any valuables, too.
The intruders on this occasion managed to flee, but the police were, apparently, in hot pursuit. Furthermore, Croucamp’s quick thinking and bravery meant that the incident was prevented from becoming far more serious.
For his part, Coetzee was proud of his girlfriend’s reaction to the intruders. “She didn’t panic, she didn’t freak out,” he explained to Algoa FM. “Those guys are exceptionally lucky they didn’t get killed, they really are.”