A video showing how a South African gamer’s house was robbed while she was live-streaming on Twitch recently surfaced online.
Sterna Lewis, her two sons, and her boyfriend Mario Englebrecht were at the mercy of three armed robbers in their home for two and a half hours in a residential estate in Amberfield, Centurion on Friday night.
Lewis spoke to MyBroadband about the ordeal.
The 37-year-old, who goes by “Miss Bandiit” on Twitch, has been gaming since 2007.
Lewis told MyBroadband she started her usual three-hour stream of Call of Duty: Warzone just after 20:00 on Friday.
During her last round, which was played at around 23:00, the robbers entered their home and initially confronted Engelbrecht.
At the same time, one of the robbers approached Lewis and pulled her headphones off.
Lewis said she initially thought this was one of her sons, who would often bring her coffee during gaming sessions while he made himself a Milo.
Noticing the pistols in the hands of the robbers and with full realisation of the danger they were in, both Lewis and Engelbrecht complied with the robbers’ orders and got on the ground.
Lewis told the robbers that her sons were in the room next door and asked that they be brought to them to avoid any possible surprises.
The children were brought into the room and Lewis instructed them to lie on the ground, remain quiet, and keep still.
The robbers used shoelaces and electrical cords to tie the family’s hands and feet and later covered Engelbrecht in a piece of cloth canvas used by Lewis for photoshoots.
They then went about the house to loot what they could, placing valuable goods next to the door which leads to the garage, and opening up Lewis and Engelbrecht’s cars.
Lewis said she believed the robbers planned to make off with their loot in these vehicles.
Fortunately, a friend who lived in the same estate realised something was amiss after Engelbrecht had stopped talking on TeamSpeak without saying goodbye.
After trying to call both Lewis and Engelbrecht’s phones, which had been turned off by the robbers, he drove to the house.
Upon hearing the unfamiliar voices of the robbers in the garage, he alerted the estate’s security.
The estate’s security guards arrived at the house and the robbers fled the scene, leaving most of the items they had planned to steal behind.
As the household had four gamers, these included two Xbox consoles, three PCs, nine monitors, and laptops.
Shortly thereafter, SAPS, the Community Policing Forum, Monitor Net, and a private security company arranged by another streamer arrived on the scene.
It turned out that one of Miss Bandiit’s viewers in Cape Town had noticed something was amiss and contacted a streamer in Johannesburg to try and get a security team to the family’s location.
At the end of the day, the robbers came away with three smartphones and a few smartwatches.
Lewis expressed immense gratitude to the gaming community and members of the ZA Gaming Alliance (ZAGA) Facebook group for their support during and after the incident.
Among the many offers of help from the community was from ZAGA members who said they will assist with improving security at Lewis’s home.
While she has taken a break from streaming, for now, Lewis said she will be back and the first point on her agenda will be to thank everyone who helped her family through the ordeal.
“I think if I talk about it, I will feel better. It will be like a type of closure,” Lewis said.
She advised that people who find themselves in similar situations stay calm and do what the robbers instruct them to.
The video below shows the initial moments of the robbery as captured during the Twitch live stream.