The footprints near the farm gates were the first sign that something was wrong. A few hours later, Schrඩර්der saw four strangers in the distance. When he called, they started running.
Adrenaline got up and chased the rifle he was carrying in the truck. He says they found people hiding behind a rock and asked them to take off their underwear to make sure they were not carrying weapons. People said they were coming in search of wild horses, but Schrder suspected that they would come to dig up the rare ferns growing on his property. He had heard that similar crimes were taking place elsewhere in the area.
Schroeder says he fired three warning shots to intimidate people into staying still and obeying his orders: one in the sky, one in a nearby rock, and another behind fleeing men. He ordered the other three to climb into the back of the truck, throwing a sleeping bag to cover them. He and his farmer then collected their clothes and bags.
“I just wanted to get them to the police station as soon as possible,” Schreuder said. He called on Investigation Captain Carol du Toit, who is leading a team to assist police in investigating crimes against wildlife and livestock in the region. His officer instructed Du Toit Schreuder to escort people to the train station in the town of Kamieskroon, about 90 minutes from work.