“We're going to rape you if you don't tell us where the safe is”: in the hell of home-jackings

“We're going to rape you if you don't tell us where the safe is”: in the hell of home-jackings

Homejackers are often well prepared. Illustration Pixabay – S_Salow

Homejackings are burglaries during which the occupants of the home are present, and sometimes even asked to help the thieves steal goods or money. Often, offenders use violence and victims are left traumatized. Residents of the region tell us. 

"I found myself lying on the ground, my wrists and ankles tied." The& ;nbsp;home-jacking is the most violent form of burglary. And for good reason, the occupants of the accommodation are present: they represent an obstacle for the robbers but also a key asset for accessing bank codes, safe combinations or car keys.

In 2023, there were 515 in France, compared to 475 the previous year, an increase of 8%. Beyond the figures, the victims of the phenomenon emerge traumatized of these burglaries. They feel guilty about having allowed these criminals to enter, they fear that they will come back, they no longer trust their security systems. Should we collaborate ? Flee ? Resist ? Residents of the region tell us their experiences.

Six Hours of Hell

Antoine* was 66 years old when he spent a terrible night tied up, assaulted, threatened, with two other people in July 2012. Living in Occitanie, he was traveling that evening near Martigues and found a guest house in Carry-le-Rouet.

"I occupied a studio below the house. I had dinner with the hosts in the evening. Around 7:30 p.m., I went up to their house to eat. When I opened the door to the house, the ordeal began."And what an ordeal. In a few seconds, Antoine is seized by three armed, hooded men. He discovers his two guests tied up on the ground. The burglars ask "if I take pills, probably to be sure that I don'have any heart problems".&amp ;nbsp;

Well-prepared attackers

Antoine quickly surrounds his three attackers: "There was the leader, armed, very calm. There was the good guy. At one point, he offered to put a pillow under my head. And there was a third, hyperexcited, hysterical, armed and very agitated."

And then "the beatings began against the host, he was threatened with even more violent abuse". The thieves threaten to cut off his ear. During this time, they alternate between monitoring their victims and searching the house. Everything is quickly "trashed". The attackers even point a gun at his head while asking "where the safe is".

“We're going to rape you if you don't tell us where the safe is”: in the hell of home-jackings

When the burglars approach the woman who is sheltering him, Antoine becomes worried. "They were shouting: 'We're going to rape you if you don't tell us where the safe is.' We didn't see this lady, but we heard her being beaten, the retiree remembers.

Finally, the terrible evening ends at 3 a.m. The criminals leave in the hosts' car and the three victims will take half an hour to undo their restraints. Received by a psychiatrist at the hospital immediately, they will file a complaint the next day. The vehicle was discovered burned a few days later. The three men were never found.

Surprise and trauma

Elsa* took years to be able to stay alone at home again. "Coming home from work, if I was alone for half an hour while waiting for my husband and my son to come home, I would have seizures ;#39;angst.

The mother replayed the images of her night of horror for months. She was alone one summer evening while her husband and son went to see a match in Nîmes. Three hooded men armed with baseball bats had threatened to rape and kill her if she did not give her the car keys. She had the good instinct to collaborate, as recommended by the Ministry of the Interior. 

In the case of Marion, in Montpellier, the burglar thought he was alone in her house, until she woke up in the middle of the night and found him in his living room: "My husband broke a picture frame over this man's head. They fought. I think the burglar was surprised. Finally he left and jumped from the balcony, from the first floor."

"It's remained a trauma. We moved to the countryside and installed an alarm, she laments.

*First names changed

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