Even the dog slept through the theft

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Victims of housebreaking insist that wily thieves are using a secret substance to knock them - and their dogs - out before ransacking their homes.

"I'm not sure why we all, including the family dog, went into a deep sleep while the criminals stole a number of items from my home," Michelle le Roux, a sales representatives for Mpumalanga Agri's newspaper said.

Le Roux said her vicious dog, Madimbu, had also gone into a deep sleep when the criminals ransacked her house early on Monday.

Cirike Rautenbach, 19, Elaine Barnard, 18, and Nadia Nieuwoudt, 19, were also lost to the world during the housebreaking.

"The dog is very vicious and does not take any nonsense but I believe the criminals put it to sleep by spraying it with a substances or using some other means of putting it into a deep sleep," Rautenbach said yesterday.

"I was with my husband and the three girls in the house when the burglars stole a laptop, hi-fi, DVD player, toaster, four cellphones, a handbag with cash, bank cards and a camera," Le Roux said yesterday.

Nelspruit police spokesman Inspector Dawie Pretorius confirmed that the station had recorded six cases of housebreaking between Friday and yesterday morning - but he dismissed the notion that criminals burnt certain substances to put their victims to sleep.

"We have proved there is no such thing," Pretorius said yesterday. "We know criminals can either poison a dog or kill it before carrying out their criminal acts."

He said at least four dogs had been killed during burglaries in one suburb alone since Friday.

The suspicion that something is being burnt to put people to sleep recalls an incident about two years ago in Thulamahashe near Bushbuckridge.

A couple were sleeping on their bed when criminals came in and put the couple on the floor.

Then they went off with the bed without the couple waking up. The couple believed they had smelt something burning before falling asleep.

The found themselves sleeping on the floor the next morning.