/ 8 September 2008

Hartbeespoort snake park robbed

A Hartbeespoort snake park was robbed of R50 000 over the weekend, which had been earned by a man living in a snake cage fo 85 days, Beeld newspaper reported on Monday.

”To devil with the snakes, I am much more scared of armed robbers,” said snake handler Martin Smit, who is attempting to break the world record by staying in the cage for 110 days.

On Sunday midnight, Smit and Hennie Jonk, the owner of the snake park, were chatting through the window of the cage when three armed men appeared.

”I walked to the front and asked them what they wanted. One of them shouted that he would shoot if I did not move away. They then grabbed three cash containers,” said Jonk.

Smit said there was about R50 000 in the containers. The money, donated by visitors to the park, was to have been donated to the Save-a-Child charity.

”I’ve had many close encounters with snakes these past 85 days,” Smit told the newspaper, while moving a green mamba lying at his feet.

”But I have never ever felt as scared as during the robbery.” – Sapa