“I only saw flashes”

Amanda Balk (34), model and reality star, known as De Gouden Kooi and Real Girls in the Jungle, was robbed last year at her Amsterdam home. The men pretended to be delivering packages. Her daughter Vegas, who was 8 years old, lives this experience up close. Both lived in great fear after the theft.

Now, more than a year later, Amanda and her daughter are doing well. “I gave him a place and I want to move on with my life.”

Postman

It’s a cold winter’s morning on January 7, 2021. The temperature is just above zero. Without a doubt, Amanda makes a cup of coffee at her home in the IJburg district of Amsterdam. It’s only after eight and I just woke up. Her 8-year-old daughter Vegas is still sleeping upstairs. The bell rings at quarter past eight. Amanda sees through the camera on the intercom that she is a postman with a package.
Amanda: “She sometimes hears weird stories, so just to make sure I asked him to put the package in front of the door. Then I came later. When I opened the door it turned out the guy was waiting for me. He lunged at me and kicked my stomach so hard that I flew back. I barely realized what was happening, only I saw flashes. He punched and kicked me. Soon after, another man walked in and sat on top of me. He tried to squeeze my throat. It was really a nightmare. I was so shocked that I hardly felt anything. All I thought about was my daughter Vegas, who was upstairs. “Don’t touch my baby, don’t touch my baby!” I cried. I was so angry that I felt no fear or pain at that moment. Vegas woke up screaming. One of them held me with a gun to my head, while the other went up the stairs. “Where are your jewelry?” He kept shouting And when I kept screaming, “Calm down, calm down, we’re not doing anything with your baby.”

jewelry

Finally I went upstairs with him. There I saw a smashed mattress in the place where Vegas slept. I was very shocked, because I thought it was still there somewhere. They shouted at me that my baby was in the closet. Vegas was hiding out there out of fear. The thieves pushed me inside. But I am afraid and terrified of trying to open the door with my feet. They kicked my leg hard. Again, they wanted to know where my jewelry was and if there was money in the house. be the place. I usually put the jewelry in the safe, but I wore it for my birthday the night before, and left it in a locker next to my bed. They took with them a lot of valuables, for example also bags and shoes that I just bought in Dubai.

When I screamed that I had 24 hour security, they eventually ran away. I feel like it took hours, but maybe a few minutes at most. I no longer have a sense of time. Terrified, Vegas and I are left behind. “Did they go?” Vegas kept asking. We stayed like that until we made sure they were gone.”
The perpetrators fled in a stolen car, and it was found burnt out three days later in Amsterdam – North.

law enforcement

Once the coast is clear, Amanda goes downstairs with her daughter. Warn the neighbor first, then the police. “The police asked me to leave everything in the house exactly as it was so they could check for fingerprints. A good friend picked up my daughter so I could go to the police station to file a report.”

Amanda sustained minor injuries from the violent robbery. She doesn’t want to go home yet. She books a hotel where she can spend a week with Vegas. We wanted to calm down there from the shock. It was a painful experience for both of us. My daughter took a big hit. When we got home a week later, she was always in shock when the doorbell would ring or the alarm would go off. In the meantime I expanded and tightened the security apparatus. Yet I was still afraid. For example, I got rid of my dog, because I no longer dared to walk it. In the evening I no longer dare to go out into the street alone.”

Another theft

Earlier, in 2017, Amanda also suffered a horrific robbery. Over the weekend in Paris, she and her partner were attacked at a traffic light. The men hit their cars with batons and the glass jumps in her face. “I feared for my life and then immediately thought of Vegas. It was very intense. Since then I have never wanted to go to Paris again. The second robbery in my house really cut it. It’s a horrible event that you wouldn’t wish for anyone. I would have preferred to solve it on my own, but I I still sought the help of a psychiatrist for both my daughter and myself. Fortunately, the psychologist found that Vegas did not have permanent damage. I was very happy with that. I was offered EMDR myself, a treatment for people who still had a horrific experience. I decided not to do So, because conversations with the psychiatrist were enough for me. I didn’t want to make it a bigger drama.”

Investigation required

Amanda wants to catch the perpetrators as quickly as possible. On March 30, 2021, she can be seen on the Opsporing Verzocht broadcast. With descriptions of the thieves and their camera photos, the police hope to find the men. Amanda is brave enough to speak for herself on the show. Where are your limits, where are your upbringing, where are your manners and morals the moment you see a child and you are going to do it for things? I was really shocked at how far people go,” she says with a crack in her voice.

“I participated in Opsporing Verzocht because I wanted to do everything I could to catch the perpetrators. This would give me peace. During the robbery, I watched her closely so that I could describe her appearance. They were just boys.”

little evidence

In April, it became clear that the men might have struck again. In a new broadcast by Opsporing Verzocht, police showed pictures of two thieves who threatened a couple and their baby boy in Amsterdam in March. The theft is similar to the one on Amanda.
Attention on TV helps. On April 19, 2021, the police arrested a 21-year-old man for theft. “It gave me a sense of security that he had been arrested. But I later received a message from the police that he had been released.
There was not enough evidence to hold him. I found that very frustrating. His fingerprints were on the parcel. Wasn’t that enough? “
The investigator and the Public Prosecution suspended the investigation for lack of evidence. “If an extensive investigation does not lead to sufficient evidence or other suspects, there is a point at which it is decided to stop the investigation. The investigation can be reopened if new developments emerge,” Amsterdam police said.

Another house

“As bad as I felt about it, I didn’t want to dwell on it. It was important to me to move on with my life. I always assumed I could only change the things I had control over. Otherwise I don’t have to worry about it.”
Three months after the theft, Amanda moved with Vegas to another house in Amsterdam. “It really helped me. I feel safer there. It is a beautiful house in a secure apartment complex with reception. People who come or deliver a package have to report it first. So no one can come again.”
Recently, she has also spent a lot of time in Dubai, where she feels comfortable. “It is a very safe country. It rarely happens because there are severe penalties for theft. You can put your watch on the table and nothing will happen. Moreover, I am not well known there. If people know that you have beautiful things and everyone can see them in the photos that are taken To you, you are more vulnerable. You have to keep in mind that others can take it away. When I was robbed, they also knew where I lived, because it was somewhere on the Internet. I can only recommend you to be more careful in such The situation and that your house is properly secured. You also don’t know in advance how you will respond to the robbery. According to the police, you did everything right: leave the package in front of the door and scream as often as possible until your reaction stuns them. But if they are really after you and still manage to get in, there is no There is so much you can do about it.”
Although Amanda and her daughter are doing well, there are still moments when the theft resurfaces. “Like any other day with a bed-delivery worker who came too early. I forgot about it. Vegas was still sleeping, I woke up with a head start and suddenly he saw people standing upstairs in the hallway. She was so shocked and scared. I was mad at myself for not thinking about it.” Right. From now on, I have to take more care of it and get it ready for when people come early in the morning. Fortunately, barring such small incidents, we are doing well again. I have been given a place for the burglary and I want to put this bad event behind me.”

[Kader] How do you prevent a home invasion?

Police Tips:

• Never open this way. First look through the window or the door of a spy to see who is standing at the door.
• Ask who the person is and what they do. Ask for identification.
• Don’t tell anyone only when you are home alone. Not even on social media.
• Don’t brag about your expensive things (TVs, phones, laptops, game consoles, jewelry, watches). You never know what someone will do with this information.
• If you meet someone online or buy or sell something through the auction site, it is best to meet at a place outside the home for sale (if possible).
• You do not trust anything. Call the police at 0900-8844 or 112 right away.

Text: Marlos de More
Photo: Bart Huninga
Make-up: Linda Huberts

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